This is the first recipe from “you guys can cook – of course!” Feel free to submit your own favourite!
A true Shepherd’s pie was made with lamb, and a cottage pie made with beef – sometimes with cheese sprinkled on the top of the potato. But nowadays most people just call either version “shepherd’s pie.” The pie top is not pastry, it is mashed potato. The whole concept was to use up leftovers of meat and vegetables, specially useful for the thrifty Northerners of England, of which I am one. Of course if you haven’t got any leftovers then starting from scratch adds to the prep time and the clear up (boo) so that turns this frugal dish into a treat. If there’s only the 2 of us eating, I still make it for 4, and afterwards remove the extra 2 portions, wrap in foil and freeze it – it’s like having an instant frozen dinner always available.
Serves 4 people.
Potatoes: ( 900 grams) seasoned, cooked, mashed.
Meat : (lamb/beef) 500 grams – seasoned, cooked, minced
Vegetables: whatever you’ve got: carrots 1 – 2 per person, peeled, diced, cooked; cauliflower – in florets ; broccoli; peas – and so on. 1 – 2 chopped onions, softened. In England I always add a can of baked beans for a bit of bulk, but ours are not as sweet as American ones.
Stock: about 500 mls – judge by the amount of food you have in the oven dish. (Approx 9 x 11). You do not want this to be drowning, only to keep it all moist. Check to see if you need to add S & P. I always use, liberally, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce (that’s pronounced WOOSTER-shrr. ( NOT Worcester in full (“were-cess-ter-”; NOT shire like hire, or any other permutations:. JUST: “shrr”. It’s easy, say it again WOOSTER-SHRR!)
No extra herbs, garlic… let the tastes just mingle.
Once you’ve got all your ingredients already cooked (remember: think left overs):
Easy peasy – put them into an appropriately sized oven dish, top with the mashed potato, put into the oven for 1 to 2 glasses of wine – oops, about 30 minutes, until the mash is a beautiful golden colour , starting to crisp up, and the pie’s juices are bubbling up at the sides.
Choose your favourite green veggie to eat with it – (we like Brussels sprouts or broccoli, cooked “al dente” – crunchy).