On the island we are starting to see the slow approach of fall. Summer lingers here for another month or so, but gone is the intense heat and heavy humidity. The sun shines, the sun always shines, this is the island of sunshine and of all good things in life.
When we lived in the UK, Shepherds Pie was my family’s firm favorite in the fall and winter months. Good unpretentious food, comfort food that does not make you feel too guilty.
Shepherds Pie is made with lamb and in a very old cookbook, I found that the pie dish was also lined with mashed potatoes with the meat sandwiched in between two layers of mash.
This recipe was passed on to me by my Scottish in-laws and I find that it makes the most flavorsome shepherd pie so I always stick to it now. I use as little added butter as possible and no added oil.
You will need :
1clove garlic finely chopped
500 grams good lamb mince
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
Two bay leaves
2 cups stock
1/2 cup wine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
5 large potatoes
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup skimmed milk, add more if necessary
Mature cheddar chesse, quantity as desired
Maldon Salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel and chop the onion and carrot.
In a non stick pan cook the minced lamb then add the chopped onion, carrot and garlic and carry on cooking until everything is soft but not browned.
Add the stock,bay leaves and wine and simmer on low to medium heat until the liquid reduces by about half.
Add the Worcestershire Sauce and dried herbs and stir.
Finally add the Bisto granules and the sauce will thicken. Bisto somehow always reminds me of Scotland.
Season with a very little salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove bay leaves. Scatter the choped parsley on top. Spoon into a non stick ovenproof dish and allow to cool before you top up with mashed potatoes.
Peel the potatoes, chop into quarters and place in a medium saucepan with cold water just covering the potatoes. Add a little salt to the water and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and place back on the heat for a few seconds to let any extra water evaporate. Mash the potatoes with the butter and add the skimmed milk. Season.
Preheat the oven to 190°Cor gas mark 5.
Spoon or pipe the mashed potato over the mince. Sprinkle grated mature cheddar cheese on top if desired and bake for 20 minutes or until the potato is golden and the pie is heated through.