Shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie has always been and still is a staple of traditional Irish cooking. This is a really easy, but tasty recipe that the whole family will enjoy. Shepherd’s pie is nutritionally sound with all the major food groups represented. The British use lamb in their shepherd’s pie, but we’ve always used beef. Do whatever you prefer or even try turkey if you’re watching fat content. This sauce is lovely and rich and should go well with any meat. You can use fresh or leftover mashed potato. Someone uses 3 tablespoons of ketchup instead of the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste as they like the hint of sweetness, but traditionally the paste would be more sound! You can also make individual pies which are always a hit with the kids. Shepherd’s pie freezes beautifully too, so make two and save one! Just let it defrost and glaze with the egg and pop into the oven as directed. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTSshepherd's pie
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 medium carrots, chopped
500g pack lamb mince
2 tablespoons tomato purée
Large splash Worcestershire sauce
500ml beef stock
900g potatoes, cut into chunks
85g butter
3 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, then soften the onion and carrots for a few mins. When soft, turn up the heat, crumble in the lamb and brown, tipping off any excess fat. Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, then fry for a few mins. Pour over the stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 40 mins, uncovering halfway. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ fan 160C/ gas 4, then make the mash. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10-15 mins until tender. Drain, then mash with the butter and milk.

Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork. The pie can now be chilled and frozen for up to a month. Bake for 20-25 mins until the top is starting to colour and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. (To bake from frozen, cook at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins until piping hot in the centre. Flash under the grill to brown, if you like.) Leave shepherd’s pie to stand for 5 mins before serving.

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