The difference between two family-favourite pies is that Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb and Cottage Pie is made with ground beef. Done well the two dishes taste quite different. Shepherd’s Pie is that perfect comfort dish that you can eat with just a fork and it tastes and smells of deep, beautiful flavours. Rosemary and mint are classic herbs for lamb so I use rosemary to flavour the meat and then serve the pie with minted peas. The combination of earthy rosemary and fresh mint is perfection.
The darker your beef stock the darker your gravy will be. If you need to use a stock cube you might want to add a splash of gravy browning to get a deep colour.
Serves 2 Adults & 2 Kids
500g ground lamb
2 large carrots
1 medium white onion
1 large celery stick
1 tbsp olive oil
500ml very good beef stock
1 tbsp dijon mustard
sprigs of rosemary
1 kg mashing potatoes
35g plain flour
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
butter and milk for mashing
- Peel the potatoes and place in cold, salted water. Bring the water to a gentle boil and cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Don’t let the potatoes break down too much as it makes the mash soggy. Once they’re cooked, drain and add butter and milk until the mash is smooth.
- Put the olive oil in a large plan on a medium high heat. Add the lamb and break up slightly with a spoon then add a large sprig of rosemary and grind over with salt.
- Let the lamb fry without moving the meat so that it browns then turn the meat and brown more. Whilst the meat is browning dice the carrots, onion and celery into a small dice.
- Once the lamb is browned, remove with a slotted spoon to a dish for later. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook along with the rosemary for 5 minutes.
- Add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the veggies then sprinkle over the flour and stir and leave to cook for a minute.
- Gradually add the beef stock and stir to make a smooth gravy until all the stock is added.
- Add the meat back into the pan then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper then cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
- Use the slotted spoon to transfer the mixture into a large baking dish. I keep some of the gravy aside in the pan to pour over the whole pie.
- Spoon the mash onto the pie and use a fork to smooth out.
- Place the pie into a 220°C (200°C fan) oven and bake for 15 minutes then grill for 5 minutes to brown the top then serve with the warmed gravy and minted peas.