Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Shepherd's Pie - a crowd pleaser in this house!

This is my children's favorite school night dinner so it's a good one to start with.  If you add veg to this as I often do - it becomes Cottage Pie. Also traditionally this dish is made with lamb, but with 7 mouths to feed I prefer the cheaper but equally as delicious beef recipe. Enjoy!

  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 900g/2lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 16fl oz beef stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mashed potatoes
  • 1½lb potatoes
  • 2fl oz milk
  • 4oz butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. In a large pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion until browned
  3. While that is sizzling away add the rest of the oil to a large skillet, and fry the ground beef, breaking up any clumps as you go until browned all over - some crispy bits add flavor!
  4. Add the flour to the onions, mixing well to thicken the juices.
  5. Pour the stock into the onions, holding a touch back to deglaze the beef pan, and add the Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Combine the cooked beef into the onions and then pour the rest of the stock into  the beef pan, scrape off any leftover beef and add the deglazed mixture to the onion pan.
  7. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and simmer for about 20 mins, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Boil the potatoes, and drain them into a big bowl. Add the milk and butter mash it up seasoning with salt and pepper.
  9. Pour the meat into an ovenproof dish and spread the mash on top, smooth over, then use a fork to scratch up the surface to make some peaky bits for added brownness!
  10. Put the dish into the oven and cook until the surface is bubbling and golden-brown.

    Serve with peas or your choice of vegetable - you can add sliced carrot and peas to the meat mixture, just remember to reduce stock slightly, to avoid bubbling over! We like this with a big dollop of steak sauce in light of the fact I have a hard time finding HP Sauce - the traditional British condiment for this dish. Enjoy!

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