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Classic Irish shepherd’s pie

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 14th, 2015

Classic Irish shepherd’s pie


  • Lamb Shoulder or Chuck Beef – ground 1kg
  • Carrots – peeled and paysanne (medium dice) 1cup
  • Celery – peeled and paysanne (medium dice) 1cup
  • Onions – peeled and paysanne (medium dice) 1cup
  • Roma Tomatoes – peeled and medium dice 2cups
  • Fresh or Frozen Peas 1cup
  • Tomato Paste 3tbsp
  • Garlic Cloves – peeled and fine chop 3pc
  • Fresh Rosemary – Leaves stripped and fine chop 2pc
  • Beef Stock 250ml
  • Red Wine 250ml
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1tbsp
  • Unsalted Butter 1tbsp
  • Flaked Sea Salt taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper taste

For topping

  • Russet Potatoes 1.5kg
  • Fresh Parsley – leaves stripped and fine chop 3pc
  • Whole Milk 500ml
  • Unsalted Butter 3tbsp
  • Bay Leaves 3pc
  • Flaked Sea Salt taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper taste


  1. Begin with a heavy bottom pan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat
  2. Add lamb and rosemary, season with salt and pepper, sauté, turning occasionally until golden brown, remove meat
  3. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, sauté until golden brown
  4. Move vegetables to one side of pan, add tomato paste to the bottom, sauté until browned
  5. Deglaze pan with wine, reduce until almost dry, add lamb, tomatoes, and stock
  6. Reduce heat to low, continue to reduce until rich consistency, check seasoning, remove from heat, add peas
  7. Position the rack in the middle of the oven, preheat convection oven to 375°F (190°C)
  8. Drop large dollops of potato mixture over the meat mixture evenly with lots of hills and valleys
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crisp on top, filling bubbling at edge
  10. Begin with potatoes in a large stock pot covered with cold water, seasoned with salt and bay leaves
  11. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook until potatoes are knife tender, remove, cool slightly, peel, discard bay leaves
  12. Pass potatoes through a ricer or food mill into stockpot, add butter, milk, and parsley, fold together until smooth
  13. Adjust consistency by adding more milk if necessary, season with salt and pepper
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Simply Nigella: Indian-spiced shepherd’s pie

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

Indian-spiced shepherd’s pie

Serves 4


For the topping:

  • 1kg sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons white peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods, cracked
  • peeled strips from 1 lime, preferably unwaxed, and juice of ½ lime
  • approx 1 litre cold water
  • 4cm piece (20g) fresh ginger, peeled, plus more for filling (see below)

For the filling:

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4cm piece (20g) fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • seeds from 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 500g minced lamb, preferably organic
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100g red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

To decorate:

  • 4 teaspoons nibbed or finely chopped pistachios


  1. Preheat your oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Start with the topping, cutting each of the sweet potatoes into approx 4-5cm chunks.
  2. Put the unpeeled potato chunks into a large saucepan (with a lid) and add the salt, peppercorns, cracked cardamom pods and lime strips (you don’t need the ginger just yet), then add just enough cold water (about 1 litre) to cover.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly, put the lid on and cook for about 30 minutes – or until the sweet potato is tender – while you get on with the filling.
  4. Slice the garlic and ginger roughly, quarter the onion, and put them all into the bowl of a food processor with the cardamom, cumin and coriander seeds, and whiz until finely chopped. Alternatively, use a bowl and a stick blender, or just chop everything very finely by hand.
  5. Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-based pan (with a lid), and then tip this paste in.
  6. Cook for a few minutes or so to soften, stirring frequently, then stir in the garam masala, chilli flakes and turmeric, and tip in the lamb mince, turning it in the spiced onion mixture and breaking it up gently.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, then fill the empty can with cold water and, swilling it around, pour this in as well. Stir in the red lentils.
  8. Season with the salt and Worcestershire sauce, then bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice to stop it catching on the bottom of the saucepan.
  9. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, drain them, reserving the liquid, and leave until cool enough to peel away the skins. Put the flesh into a wide bowl.
  10. Mash the sweet potatoes, using a potato masher, or any gadget of your choice (even a fork would do) and slowly beat in some of the potato cooking water – adding as much as you need to make the mash a less dense, more spreadable consistency – and squeeze in the juice of half the lime.
  11. Grate the peeled ginger for the topping on to a plate – I use a coarse microplane grater – then spoon the grated ginger into the centre of a piece of kitchen roll. Moving quickly, pull up the edges of the paper and twizzle them, so you have a little wrapped swag-bag, then squeeze and wring out over the mash (an intense ginger juice will drip out). Beat this juice into the mash (above). Check the seasoning, tasting to see if you want any more lime or ginger, too.
  12. Once the lamb filling has had its time, ladle equally between 4 small ovenproof bowls or dishes of approx 400ml capacity (or a larger rectangular dish, measuring approx 30 x 20 x 5cm deep and 1.6-litre capacity), and then top with the mash, also dividing this equally between the bowls, spreading it to cover the rim of the dishes.
  13. Sit the dishes on an oven tray and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes (or, if you’re cooking this in one larger dish, it will need 30-35 minutes). The mash should be piping hot (though it won’t get a crust) with the mince bubbling underneath.
  14. On serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of nibbed pistachios over each bowl.


The pies can be assembled up to 2 days ahead. As soon as the pies are cool (and within 2 hours of making), cover each one and refrigerate until needed. Bake for an extra 10-15 minutes, making sure that the pies are piping hot in the centre before serving.


Wrap each pie tightly in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge and bake as Make Ahead Note.

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