A traditional shepherd's pie is made with ground lamb, while the similar cottage pie is made with beef. Both freeze well (add 10 to 15 minutes to the cooking time if baking from frozen). A little bit of Branston Pickle enhances the flavor of the lamb in this recipe.
- 1 pound lean ground lamb
- Salt and pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 large carrot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Leaves from a handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- Leaves from a sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/4 pounds baking potatoes, cut into chunks
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons hot milk
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 extra-large egg yolks
- 2 1/2 tablespoons minced Branston Pickle
Put a wide, cast-iron or other heavy-based pan over medium to high heat. Season the ground lamb with salt and pepper and fry in a thin layer of oil until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. (Fry the meat in two batches if necessary.) Transfer the lamb to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
Add a little more olive oil to the pan and stir in the onion, carrot and garlic. Fry, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and tomato paste and stir for a couple of minutes longer. Pour in the red wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge the browned sediment. Let the wine boil until it has almost all evaporated and the pan is quite dry.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Return the lamb to the pan and add the Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and partially cover the pan. Simmer, stirring every once in a while, until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened, 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender when pierced with a small knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well, then return to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly. Press the potatoes through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Mix in the butter, hot milk and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Season well to taste, then beat in the egg yolks and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fold the minced Branston Pickle through the lamb mixture, then pour into an 8-cup baking dish. Spoon the mashed potato generously on top of the lamb filling, starting from the outside and working your way into the middle. Fluff up the mashed potato with a fork to make rough peaks. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and grind a little black pepper over the top. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up around the sides, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with extra Branston Pickle, if you wish.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.
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