Happy New Year!
I don’t know about you, but in the early days of January, with the festivities over and summer seeming a long way off, I yearn for a bit of comfort food. Just good, tasty home cooking is what I need now.
Shepherd’s pie is firm family favourite when it comes to comfort food. I most often make mine with minced lamb or even beef (which technically makes it a Cottage pie). A few weeks a go I had some left over roast lamb, from a roast dinner. My brother-in-law and his wife were visiting us from Canada so I thought I would treat them to a good old English roast. When both my boys were living at home left over meat did not exist, but this time around I had some left over which I used to make this Shepherd’s pie.. It was spectacularly good, and I shall be using it as an excuse to cook a larger joint of meat (I had cooked a whole shoulder in this case) next time I do a roast, just so I can make it again.
It goes without saying that it is perfectly fabulous winter fare no matter whether you make it with leftover meat or with minced meat.
If you’re feeling posh you can pipe the mash on top of the meat. Although that was how I was taught at college, I find it just that bit more extra work. Mr. B likes grated cheese sprinkled on top because that is how his mum made it, but that’s optional too. I never had it that way, so the choice is yours.
What is your favourite comfort food? Do let me know, it’s always interesting to hear which foods make people happy.
Step By Step Shepherds Pie
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 500 g lean minced lamb (1lb2oz)
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 300 ml vegetable stock (½ pt/1¼ cups)
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 900 g potatoes for the mash (2lb)
- 4 tbsp milk
- 25 g butter (1oz/2tbsp)
- 50 g cheddar cheese ,grated optional (2oz)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the mince and break it up with the side of a spoon as it cooks. Cook until browned
- Stir in the dried herbs and flour. Gradually add the stock and Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer whilst preparing the potato topping.
- Heat the oven to 190℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 5. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized pieces. Place in a pan with enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil, add a pinch of salt and cook for about 10–15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Drain well and return to the pan. Add the milk and butter, season to taste and mash well.
- Season the meat to taste and spoon off any excess fat. Pour into a shallow ovenproof baking dish. Carefully spread the mashed potato on top of the mince, fluffing the top with a fork. Sprinkle the cheese over the top if using.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the potato is crisp and golden.
Freeze: Freeze after topping with the potato (allow to cool completely first) for up to 4 months. Defrost completely before baking in the oven. Increase the cooking time by 10 –15 minutes. Cooked meat should only be reheated once so do not freeze if using leftover meat.