Shepherd's Pie - my way...

Is this the prettiest dish ever? Of course not. How does one make a mix of minced meat, potato purée and grated cheese look pretty? But that's not the point, is it? Dishes like this are rarely about their good looks. They're all about comfort, warmth, family and a belly full of home cooked goodness.. Eaten with knife and fork or a spoon, from a plate or a bowl, whatever brings the most comfort is the right thing here. And by "right thing" I mean do whatever makes you feel good and happy. There's no right or wrong. 

Shepherd's Pie - my way

Anyway, it's January and that means I need all the comfort I can get. I tend to be an emotional eater and I'm sure some shrink would have a field day with my food habits and triggers. When it's cold and grey, when I feel sad or insecure, I tend to literally eat my feelings. So I'm afraid you won't find me munching on a lettuce leaf at these times, atoning for all the chocolates consumed over the festive period or participating in the newest detox craze. Only something that can make me feel warm and comfortably full will do on a cold day and my shepherd's pie is perfect for that. Now, I know that this dish isn't exactly a revelation. It's a British classic which is served in any half decent family pub (though the quality can of course vary hugely) and I have simply added a few ingredients and put my own spin on it. I think it's ok to occasionally present you with something you will undoubtedly have seen before, non? You could say it's simply honest because of course we don't live of cakes, desserts and canapés every day. Food cooked from scratch, homemade one pot meals, a mix of food groups, meat, fish, vegetables, that's what the dishes are made of that I serve up at the end of a busy day or on a lazy Sunday. They might be followed by a fancy dessert, but that's another story... 

Shepherd's Pie - my way

To serve 4 - 6 people, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1kg potatoes 
  • 400g frozen peas
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 4 banana shallots
  • 400ml red wine
  • 300ml lamb stock (if you don't have fresh stock, made with 2 cubes)
  • 200g grated emmental
  • 2 tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Shepherd's Pie - my way

And here's how it's done:

  • prepare your stock so it's ready to use
  • peal and chop the potatoes and put into a large pan to boil
  • chop the shallots 
  • heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan and sweat the chopped shallots on a medium heat
  • turn the heat up and add the lamb mince
  • brown the mince and then add the peas
  • add the garlic and herbs and mix all until the peas are heated through
  • now pour in the red wine and leave to bubble until until nearly gone
  • add the stock and, again, leave to bubble until reduced by 2/3
  • preheat your oven to 200C, if possible with top heat/grill on
  • drain the potatoes and mash them, or, even better, put them through a ricer
  • add the crème fraîche to the mashed potatoes and mix until smooth
  • add a good grating of nutmeg to the mash and mix
  • now, if needed, transfer the meat to a large pie dish
  • top the meat with the mash and spread until covered
  • top with the emmental
  • put the whole dish into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbling and the cheese is golden in colour
  • serve hot with a glass of red wine 
Shepherd's Pie - my way
Shepherd's Pie - my way

I hope you like my French take on a British classic. My next recipe (which I actually baked last weekend and you might have already spotted on Instagram) will be a sweet one again. Until then, why not stay in touch on InstagramTwitter and Facebook… xo