Individual Shepherds Pie
In time gone by, Sunday lunch or dinner may well have consisted of roast lamb and the leftover meat was saved for the next day. The leftover lamb would be minced and combined with vegetables such as onions and carrots or whatever vegetables were available.
I cerainly remember my grandmother's Sunday lunches and ocassionally her use of the leftover meat the next day. To tell the truth, I always preferred the minced leftovers cooked as Shepherd's Pie the next day.
The mixture of meat, vegetables and herbs was always topped with mashed potatoes, a cheap and tasty addition to this traditional recipe. In recent times the potato topping has been topped even further with grated cheddar cheese. Delicious!
350g / 12oz minced lamb
2 medium onions
140g / 5oz carrots
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 shakes of Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins)
1 level tablespoon of plain flour
2 garlic cloves
1 level tablespoon of tomato puree
2 tablespoons of olive oil
250 ml lamb or vegetable stock
700g / 1lb 9oz white potatoes
55g / 2oz Cheddar cheese
45g / 1½oz butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chop the carrots into small pieces.
Peel the potatoes, cut them into quarters and put them in a pan of salted water
to stop them going brown.
Grate the Cheddar cheese
Pre heat the oven to 200°C / Fan 180°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
Allow about three hours to defrost at room temperature. To cook them when defrosted, place in a pre-heated oven at 180°C / Fan 160°C / 300°F / Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes then turn up to 200°C / Fan 180°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6 for 10 minutes.
Pour the olive oil (2 tablespoons) into the pan on a medium heat and add the two medium chopped onions. Cook for about 12 minutes turning the onions frequently until they are softened.
Add the chopped carrots (140g) then cook for a further 5 minutes turning the mix frequently. Remove them from the pan and keep them for use later.STEP 2
Add the minced lamb (350g) to the pan and keep stirring and turning the meat until it is browned. Break up any pieces of the mince which are stuck together.
When all the meat is browned, add the cooked vegetables, chopped garlic, thyme (½ teaspoon), cinnamon (½ teaspoon), Worcestershire Sauce (2 shakes), stock (250 ml) and tomato puree (1 level tablespoon). Sprinkle on the flour (1 level tablespoon) and mix well.STEP 3
Turn the heat down to low, put a lid on the pan and let the mix cook for about 35 minutes. Stir it every ten minutes and add a couple of tablespoons of water if the mix is starting to stick to the pan. Taste and add salt and pepper as required.
While the pie filling is cooking put the potatoes in simmering water on a medium heat for 25 minutes until they are cooked.STEP 4
Drain all the water from the potatoes and then leave them to stand for 5 minutes with no lid (or just a tea towel) on the pan. Add the butter and mash the potatoes to a puree. This will take at least two minutes.
Pour the meat into the base of each individual pie dish so that it is just over one half filled.STEP 5
Spoon the mashed potato gently over the meat and even it out gently. Don't use too much pressure or the mash will disappear into the meat rather than staying on top of it. A small amount of mash at a time works best.
Fluff up the mash topping with a fork and then sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.STEP 6
Put the individual dishes in the pre-heated oven and cook for 30 minutes turning the dish round once after 15 minutes.
The Shepherds Pie is ready when the cheese and mash on top turns a golden brown.
Individual Shepherds Pie