Shepherd’s pie is a family favourite and for good reason – it’s good to eat, easy to prepare, can be made in advance and freezes well.
Recipes for Shepherd’s pie vary from home to home – some people add carrots, others tinned tomatoes, – but the basic idea remains constant. In this recipe, however, we’ve added spices and herbs to the mince and feta cheese to the mash. The end result is still Shepherd’s pie, but with a twist that turns it from something everyday to something unexpected.
Of course, if you want a regular Shepherd’s pie recipe follow the instructions below but omit the spices, herbs and cheese – this will still be good but it won’t be a suprise.
2tbsp flavourless oil
650g minced lamb
3 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp chilli powder, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp dried dill (optional)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
450ml stock, veg or chicken
Juice of 1 lemon
700g potatoes, peeled and cut into equal sized pieces
Large sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped, stem lightly crushed
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
- Heat a large, ovenproof pan with a lid on a high heat, add a generous splash of oil & brown the lamb thoroughly, seasoning with a little salt and pepper as you go.
- You may need to cook the mince in batches depending on the size of your pan.
- Once all the meat is browned, tip away any excess fat – if you keep the fat to one side you can use this to cook the onions.
- Add a third of the stock to the mince, stir well and bring to the boil.
- Once it has come to the boil tip the meat into a bowl and return the pan to the heat.
- Add a generous splash of any leftover fat or some oil to the pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and stir well and once they start to soften turn the heat down and leave them to cook gently for a good 10 minutes.
- In the meantime preheat the oven to 180/170fan/gas4.
- Next start cooking the potatoes for the mash. Place them in a large pan of water with a generous pinch of salt.
- Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes can be easily pierced with an ordinary table knife.
- Once the onions are soft add the spices and garlic and cook them for a few minutes then add the lemon juice, the dill and the remaining stock.
- Bring to a simmer and add the mince and a bayleaf to the pan.
- Simmer and cook very slowly with a lid while you make the mash.
- Tip the potatoes into a colander and return the pan to the heat with the milk, butter, chopped rosemary, nutmeg and some seasoning.
- Bring the milk to a simmer over a low heat and sit the colander of potatoes on top so that they steam dry a little.
- Once the butter has melted into the milk add the potatoes to the pan and mash them thoroughly.
- Crumble all but a couple of tablespoons of feta into the mash, stir well and season to taste.
- Check the seasoning of the mince and remove the pan from the heat.
- Spoon the mash on top of the mince, smooth out and scatter the remaining feta and a pinch of chilli powder on top.
- Place in the oven and cook until the top is brown and bubbling – about 20 minutes.
- Serve with peas or a simple green salad.