It is British Pie Week that quintessential staple of a good pub menu, and who doesn’t like pie ( apologies if you don’t dear reader ). I want you to think of tender braised beef in a rich gravy wrapped in short crust pastry, lightly poached seafood in an indulgent creamy sauce and topped with a cheesy mash, a rich lamb, plum, celery and port pie with golden flaky puff pastry, the choices are almost infinite even before we get to desserts and a deep filled apple pie with lashings of custard.
So whatever takes your fancy and makes you Ap-Pie, did you see what I did there, you should go out and get baking a delicious pie for your dinner and while the weather is still cold and blustery here in the Channel Islands I am going to share one of my favourite pie recipes. Traditionally Shepherd’s Pie is a réchauffé dish made from reheating leftover minced lamb and vegetables in gravy and serving with a mashed potato top. My recipe uses one of my favourite cuts of lamb, the shoulder, which is full of flavour and delicious when slow cooked. If you want to try something a little different you could try topping the pie with sweet potato mash. The Shepherd’s Pie can be made in advance and frozen then defrosted and baked as required.
Shepherds Pie with slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder
Shepherd’s Pie with slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder
2kg diced Lamb Shoulder, cut into 2cm cubes
( Ask your butcher to cut this up for you and to give you the bone )
1 large Onion, peeled and very finely sliced
2 large Carrots, peeled and sliced
2 sticks of Celery, washed, peeled and finely sliced
1 x 400 gr can of chopped Tomatoes
500 ml of quality Veal stock
200 ml good White Wine
100 gr Plain Four
60 gr Butter
6 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
Large handful of Curly Parsley washed and finely chopped
2 Bay leaves
2 generous sprigs of Thyme
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
For the topping
1 kg Mashed Potato
60 gr grated Cheddar Cheese
20 gr finely grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and sauté the diced lamb in three batches until the all of the pieces are browned all over. Remove the browned lamb with a slotted spoon and place into a large heavy-bottomed pan or casserole. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves and thyme to the frying pan and gently sauté for fifteen to twenty minutes until the onion has started to soften.
Add the plain flour and tomato paste to the cooking vegetables and stir in and cook for two minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and veal stock and bring to a simmer stirring regularly. Return the lamb to the pan, reduce the heat and cook for an hour and a half or until lamb is tender and the sauce is reduced. Remove from the heat, remove the thyme and bay leaves and season. Allow to cool and stir in the parsley.
Preheat your oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas Mark 5. Place the lamb mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with the mash. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and Parmesan and place in the oven. Bake for fifty minutes until the cheese is browned at the edges and bubbling and the Shepherd’s Pie is heated right through.
What to Drink? Shepherd’s Pie pairs fantastically with classic English Ales such as Greene King’s Abbots Ale or Timothy Taylors Landlord. If you want to drink wine Rioja is a classic partner for lamb if you want something lighter try a fruity Pinot Noir.