Thursday 26 September 2013

Smashing Shepherds Pie

With the darker nights and cooler temperatures, it's time to dust off those classic comfort recipes and enjoy some hearty food come dinner time. Now, I'm no expert cook, but I do enjoy trying a new recipe or making something from scratch and if it goes down well my husband, then I'm pretty chuffed to bits!

When it comes to cooking, I find a recipe I like the sound of but make my own adjustments along the way, mainly to the quantities of ingredients (I believe more is more when it comes to flavour, particularly when a recipe calls for garlic, lemon, lime, Worcestershire sauce etc!). I don't always know what I'm doing but that's part of the fun and I haven't had too many 'I'll never make that again' instances I'm pleased to say.

So, here's my simple, tasty recipe for making a smashing Shepherds Pie - just don't expect there to be any leftovers...

Smashing Shepherds Pie
Makes enough for 6 people or 4 if you're more generous with your servings!


500g lamb mince

2 carrots
2 sticks celery
1 large onion
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp garlic puree, or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp dried rosemary

400g ready-made mash potato (yes, homemade mash is great but I usually cheat as it's so much quicker)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Dice the onion and brown in a large frying pan with a little oil. Add the lamb and cook until brown all over.

2. Add the Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and tomato puree and stir in.

3. Chop your carrots and celery however you like them - chunky or finely sliced - and add to the saucepan.

4. Pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes, stir, then crumble in a beef stock cube (adds a richness to the sauce).

5. Leave to simmer for another few minutes. If the sauce doesn't seem thick enough for your liking, simply add a little flour to help thicken it up, but this shouldn't be necessary.

6. Pop your mash potato in the microwave for half the recommended cooking time, to soften it up. If you're making your own mash from scratch, kudos to you!

7. Pour the lamb filling into a casserole dish.

8. Stir in the wholegrain and Dijon mustards into the mash potato then put dollops of mash on top of the lamb mixture in the dish. Using the back of a spoon, gently smooth out the mash until the top of the pie is completely covered.

9. Cover the dish with tin foil and cook in the oven for around 40 minutes on gas mark 6.

10. Uncover and cook for five minutes more then serve with peas or green beans.

I thoroughly enjoyed this when I made it on Sunday, helping myself to seconds, but hubs really must have liked it as he ate the rest! Best review I could have asked for!

I like to get creative when I cook so the next time I make this, I might add a dash of balsamic vinegar as I've heard it can give it a nice kick or I was thinking a layer of garden peas, blended with a little butter and mint, spread underneath the mash could make for an interesting twist.

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