In my cooking classes, I’m often asked what’s the difference between Shepherd’s pie and Cottage Pie. These two British classics keep company with the likes of Bangers & mash and Fish & chips. Growing up, I we often had cottage pie but Shepherd’s pie, was a rarity. Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, a kind of upscaled cottage pie, which is equally popular but usually made with ground beef.
Food in the 70’s was cheap and cheerful which meant that lamb rarely made it onto our dinner table, let alone into a pie! Forty years later, I’m married to a Liverpudlian which means, Shepherd’s pie was bound to be on the menu. With a passed down family recipe lacking, I had to come up with a worthy version. I make it with brown sauce and Worcestershire. The result is a deeply savoury and completely delicious all-in-one supper. We call it The Bibby’s Shepherd’s pie.
Leftovers are no longer frowned upon. It’s the way forward and a really clever way to cook. For this Shepherd’s pie, you’re going to need the leftovers from a Sunday lunch leg of lamb roast. If you don’t have a go-to lamb recipe, this lamb shawarma is a winner.
The choice of vegetables depends largely on what’s in your fridge. I use this as a general clear the fridge cook, with leeks, carrots, celery, mushrooms and whatever else I find in the veggie draw. Frozen peas however, are a must! No decent cottage or Shepherd’s pie should be without these greens. The crowning glory is obviously creamy mashed potato, because kids aged 4 – 74 love a good mash. A good idea would be to make two and freeze one for later.
Bibby’s Shepherd’s pie
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 2 stems celery, diced
- 3 carrots, cut into 1 cm dice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sauce (I use good old HP sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 cups weak beef stock
- 2 cups (about 400g) left over cooked lamb, cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon cornflour dissolved in 30ml cold water
- 3/4 cup peas (petit pois are lovely and sweet)
- 2 cups prepared mashed potato
- flat leaf parsley, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200º C. Grease a 2 litre oven-proof baking dish.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion until softened. Add the celery and carrots to the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two before adding the rosemary, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, HP sauce, mustard and beef stock.
- Mix through the lamb pieces, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Add the cornflour slurry and simmer until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and add the peas.
- Transfer the meat filling to a baking dish, top with mashed potato and bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden. Scatter over a handful of freshly chopped parsley and serve with some extra brown sauce or tomato sauce on the side.