Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shepherds Pie Tonight!

My Shepherds Pie

Strictly speaking this should be named
'cottage' pie as its made with beef as opposed to lamb, however, my Mum always referred to it as 'shepherds' and it was never advisable to challenge her kitchen wisdom.

I've read numerous recipes for Shepherds Pie, with ingredients ranging from ground lamb of course, lamb shanks, leftover brisket and pot roast. In our family it was fashioned simply from lean ground beef and, as with all these historic dishes, tastes best when its made exactly how you remember it growing up.

Recipe Ingredients

1lb lean ground beef

1 onion finely chopped

2 carrots finely chopped (I had some grated carrots leftover so used those)

2 sticks celery finely chopped

dash Worcestershire sauce

1tbs tomato puree

1 cup of beef stock

1 tbs all purpose flour

Mashed Potato

1lb potatoes

cream, butter, salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat 2tbs of vegetable oil in a heavy based frying pan. Add the onion, carrots & celery and fry until translucent.

  2. Add the ground beef and fry until thoroughly browned. If you are fat watching you could tip the pan to one side at this point and drain any excess fat that has been released from the beef.

  3. Add the tablespoon of flour and work it into the pan, followed by the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and beef stock.

  4. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced; about 15 minutes.

  5. Pour into a baking dish and allow to cool.

Mashed Potato

  1. Peel & cut the potatoes into chunks, boil until tender.

  2. Drain & cover the pan with a tea towel / dishcloth to absorb the excess steam (creates much fluffier mash).

  3. Mash and add cream, butter & seasoning to taste. I favor a potato ricer, my Mum used a retro wire masher and my Nan used a fork. I expect my daughters will have a computer program to do it for them!

  4. Using a palette knife spread the potato onto the cooled meat. (I cool it first so the potato spreads easier).

  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for around 30 minutes until the potato starts to crisp on the top and the gravy begins to bubble up around the sides. (If you are feeling extravagant you can top with cheese before baking).

Trust me: No matter what quantity of mashed potato you are making, never ever be tempted to use an electric mixer of any description to help you. You will be eating glue.

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