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Baking, Lamb, Peasant Food

Shepherd’s Pie

It’s a classic of British cooking isn’t it, the superb Shepherd’s Pie.

I’m thinking if I should just call this blog – “Cooking with Jamie and Delia” as it feels like all of my recent recipes have been from one of these two giants of English home cooking. It’s probably not the case, so I’ll go on…

This is another Jamie recipe and you can find the original here. This is for a 6 portion pie. What’s great for a UK cook is you’ll know exactly where to find all of these ingredients, and they’ll be cheap!


  • 1 red onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A small bunch of fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • 500g good-quality minced lamb
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml lamb or vegetable stock, preferably organic
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5kg Desiree potatoes
  • 100ml semi-skimmed milk
  • A large knob of butter

Method of Preparation:

  • Peel and roughly chop the onion and carrots, trim and roughly chop the celery, and peel and finely chop the garlic cloves
  • Pick the rosemary leaves, discard the stalks
  • Heat a large pan on a medium heat, add a good lug of olive oil and the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and most of the rosemary leaves (reserve about 8 or 10)
  • Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened
  • Turn the heat up, add the lamb mince, and brown for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Use a sieve or slotted spoon to drain away any excess liquid from the pan, then tip in the tinned tomatoes
  • Pour in the stock, season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir well, then bring to the boil
  • Reduce to a low heat, pop the lid on slightly ajar, and simmer for 1 hour
  • Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5
  • Peel the potatoes, cut them into halves and quarters depending on their size, and put them into a pan of salted, boiling water
  • Boil for about 10 minutes until tender (stick a knife into them to check they’re soft all the way through)
  • Drain in a colander and return them to the pan, add the milk, butter and a pinch of salt and pepper then mash until smooth and creamy
  • Transfer the lamb mixture to a large ovenproof baking dish, spoon the mash evenly over the top and poke the remaining rosemary leaves into the top


  • Drizzle with olive oil, then cook in the hot oven for 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling


  • Serve with broccoli or some lovely peas

    Very soon after that…

First thing I’ll say is that Jamie says to use good quality minced lamb. Now then, we get our main rations delivered to us by Tesco each week and we go to the local Asda to ‘top up’ through the week. I haven’t checked at Asda yet but the only lamb mince available at Tesco was a frozen 500g  bag. I think this might mean a trip to the butcher to get the good stuff.

Having said that this was delicious, it did make a good 6 portions and it was really simple to make.  In fact, I’d say this was the best Shepherd’s Pie I’ve ever had (sorry mum but it’s true). I had a really nice lamb stock that I’d made after a roast one weekend and I think that was where the strength of flavour came from.

I’ll definitely be doing this again so, if I remember, I’ll come back and let you know how it tastes with a normal packet stock.


7 thoughts on “Shepherd’s Pie

  1. I reckon you’ll find that a lot of the flavour (apart from your wonderful home produced stock) came from the onion/carrot/celery trinity. Cooking them for the 8-10 minutes really brings out some gorgeous flavours. I can’t agree with Jamie’s tin of tomatoes – I like my Shepherd’s Pie to be less “italian” than that, but I have to admit, it looks great!

    Posted by Jenny Eatwell | November 22, 2012, 3:36 pm
    • Hi Jenny, I’d never had the tomatoes before but they add a bit of depth and I reckon I’ll use them again. The mirepoix (onion/carrot/celery) really infuses complex flavour into any broth, soup of stew.

      Quick question for you Jenny, do you cook a lot of cajun food – that’s the only cuisine I know that refers to a mirepoix as “trinity”?

      Posted by Recipe Tester | November 22, 2012, 3:49 pm
      • Oh! How interesting! No, I don’t cook Cajun at all – in fact, it’s one of the few styles of cooking that I really don’t get on with at all well. I didn’t realise the “trinity” harked back to Cajun style! I was more thinking of the “holy trinity” when I coined the phrase. lol

        Posted by Jenny Eatwell | November 22, 2012, 4:12 pm
      • I see Jenny, I’ve just done a descriptive post for mirepoix – enjoy!

        Posted by Recipe Tester | November 22, 2012, 4:19 pm
      • I’ve seen it. So all this time, I’ve been channelling some Cajun mama. Who knew? lol

        Posted by Jenny Eatwell | November 22, 2012, 4:21 pm


  1. Pingback: Cottage Pie with Cheese Crusted Leeks « recipetests - January 15, 2013

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