Recipe | Shepherd’s Pie

Hello! First of all my apologies for going AWOL for rather longer than promised. Finishing the book somewhat took it out of me, and what with all the other jazz going on with supper clubs and various articles I neglected the blog. But I’m back. *Doffs cap*.

October saw a supper club co-hosted by the School of Food, at which boss Al Instone heroically battled through a short-staffed and unfamiliar kitchen to produce a handsome menu of mackerel ceviche, braised lamb shanks, and chilli chocolate tart. If you’re looking for private cooking classes in London then he’s your man. Another fine cook, Oliver Thring, co-hosted a game night with me. This didn’t, as some thought, involve games of Twister and strip poker (more’s the pity), but instead wood pigeon salad and roast partridge. Ollie made a fine celeriac soup and, most impressively, some marshmallows for afters.

I signed off as the last vestiges of summer disappeared through the cracks. It very much feels as if winter is now nudging his icy head through the windowpanes, as the annual dance over the thermostat begins and cooking becomes more robust, more generous. On Saturday night we held our 20th supper club, a private one for a friend’s 30th birthday. Marky Market produced two of the biggest legs of lamb I’ve e’er seen, and so last night a shepherd’s pie was concocted with the leftovers. After 4 hours sleep and a long day in the studio it was just what I felt like.

Serves 6

An onion, peeled and finely chopped
A stick of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
A carrot, peeled and finely chopped
A load of leftover roast lamb, 800g say
Any leftover gravy, or a little stock
Last night’s red wine
1 tablespoon tomato puree
Salt, pepper, oil
For the mash
1kg potatoes
25g butter
150ml milk

– Heat a little oil in a large saucepan or saute pan and sweat the onion, celery, and carrot until soft. Meanwhile chop up the meat into small pieces. Add these to the pan, season with salt and pepper and whack up the heat. Keep the pan moving as you brown the meat a little, before pouring in the wine and any leftover gravy. Simmer for a few minutes, add the tomato puree, and leave to tick over on a gentle flame for half an hour. Tip into a serving dish and leave to cool.

– Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Bring to a boil in salted water and simmer until soft. Drain and mash thoroughly with the milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper and spread over the cooled lamb filling. Run the mash through with a fork, do some fancy patterns, fashion a potato rendering of the Vitruvian man, whatever – give the heat of the oven something to hold on to. Bake for 40 minutes and serve.

What have you been up to for the past month?


Filed under Ramblings, Recipes, The Secret Larder

12 responses to “Recipe | Shepherd’s Pie

  1. so good to have you back… and with a wonderful, hearty shepherds pie… just what we need to fatten us up for winter!… i’ve been mostly making soups and stews as well as feeding Lucretia my sourdough pet, who’s been a roaring success… but also set myself a ‘chicken challenge’ where I buy a whole chicken every weekend and do different things with it… good for diversity and my pocket at the same time… I may go on to different animals as the months progress and as my fill of chicken becomes overloaded… am almost starting to deal with the fact that its Christmas in 4 weeks time!… hoorah!

  2. I am very impressed with the way you have listed your ingredients in an upside down pyramid.

  3. Comfort food is always good especially when you’ve half cooked the ingredients already. I’ve been looking after my sour dough pet too (Kylie – blonde and bubbly) and …..getting ready for Christmas (there I said it!)

  4. phylliskirigin

    Hello James and welcome back. Nothing like a nice batch of comfort food to warm one’s innards. I, too, am focusing on some great comfort dishes for this cool breezy weather.

    Phyllis, aka

  5. Comfort food at its finest, but I wonder what your view is of the inclusion of Worcestershire sauce . . . some people (ahem, I might be one of them) think it’s sacrilege to leave it out!

    On another note, am also keeping my sourdough pet fed and watered, (he’s called Boniface, for his sunny demeanour . . . sad, eh!) and have assembled the ingredients for Stir-Up Sunday . . .

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