Shepherd's Pie

Shepherds Pie

Shepherd's Pie

There are countless versions of Shepherd's Pie, this is mine and I think it is rather tasty.  I tend to make this from scratch as the likelihood of having enough left over lamb is not great... if you do have about 500grams of leftover cold roast lamb, you can use that instead, though it will not be infused quite so well with the rich Guinnessy goodness.

Shepherds Pie1 roasting leg of lamb, boned and cut into generous chunks and rolled in flour
1 cup of Guinness
1 cup vegetable stock
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Salt, pepper
1 kg potatoes, cooked and mashed with a little butter and an egg 
Handful of tasty cheese
A few rashers of prosciutto or finely cut bacon

Optional - handful of breadcrumbs

Pre-heat oven to 200°C

In a large saucepan, add half the onion and a little salt and pepper and fry in a little olive oil.  Cook until the onions are well browned then add the lamb pieces.  Cover entirely with the Guinness stir vigorously as the Guinness heats through and then reduce the heat, and leave to simmer for 45 minutes over a low heat stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.

Check the meat – it should be soft and tender, add the tomato paste and vegetables and stock and continue cooking until the carrots are softened. The gravy should be fairly thick, but not sparse.  If too runny add a little cornflour dissolved in stock, if too dry add a little additional stock.

Grease a generous baking tray, casserole or pie dish and pour in the lamb filling – filling should not reach the top of the baking tray or it will spill over.

Cover entirely with the mashed potatoes and rough up the surface of the pie with a fork to encourage crispy morsels to form. 

Sprinkle over the cheese and lay over the very fine slices of bacon or prosciutto.  An optional extra that makes for a very crispy top is to add a small handful of breadcrumbs to the top of the potatoes.

Bake for 40  minutes in a moderately hot oven, or until the top is golden brown and peppered with crispy brown peaks. 

Shepherds Pie 

Serve with fresh parsley and a few snips of spring onion and good tomato chutney!