Spicy shepherds pie

These early autumn days can be warm and sunny but the minute the sun goes down it’s properly chilly. It’s time to bring out the big comfort food guns and this spicy shepherd’s pie is just the job. A real shepherd’s pie is made with leftover Sunday roast lamb and gravy but you could substitute lamb mince of course. The Madras spiced gravy is the star of the show and goes beautifully with root veg like parsnips, carrots, swede and celeriac (just use your favourite mix), all topped with fluffy mashed potato. If you wanted to make it vegetarian, you could swap out the meat for a can of lentils.

Spicy shepherds pie

Serves 4

  • 500g or so of leftover roast lamb chopped into bite sized pieces
  • Leftover lamb gravy or chicken stock
  • 3 tbsps plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 1/4 of a celeriac, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 1 stick of celery, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 1/4 of a small swede, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsps Madras curry powder
  • 4 or 5 large potatoes, peeled and quartered into equal sized chunks
  • 2 tbsps light olive oil
  • 40g butter plus a little extra for dotting at the end.
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and white pepper

To make…

  • Put the potatoes into boiling salted water with the turmeric and cook for about 10 minutes or until they are cooked through. Once cooked, mash and whisk in the butter, salt and white pepper. It needs to be quite thick so it sits easily on the meat and vegetables but add in a tablespoon or two of hot milk to loosen it up if it’s too stiff.
  • Meanwhile, make the filling. Add the oil and cumin seeds to a sauté pan over a medium heat. Cook the onions for 10 minutes and then add the rest of the vegetables. Cook for another 5 minutes until all the vegetables are softened and slightly caramelised. Sprinkle over the madras curry powder and gradually stir in the yoghurt. Add your tomato paste, leftover gravy or enough chicken stock to just cover the vegetables. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the chopped lamb. Taste to check that you’re happy with the sauce – add in more seasoning if you feel it needs it.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Turn the lamb mixture out into your baking dish. Top up the stock to just under the top line of the filling if it looks like it’s not generous enough but it shouldn’t be swimming in sauce.
  • Carefully top with the mash ensuring that it’s even and goes right into the edges of your dish. Use a fork to rough up the top to give it a rustic look. Dot with a little extra butter.
  • Place the baking dish onto a metal baking dish – it will cook more evenly and it won’t bubble up and splash the bottom of your oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.
  • Allow it to sit for a few minutes once you take it out of the oven to serve. You could serve it with extra green veg on the side.

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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