There aren’t many more comforting dishes than a shepherd’s pie. This version is classic using minced lamb and regular potatoes, but you can also use a different meat, add ginger, cumin and cinnamon to the base and use yams or parsnips and carrots for topping. The options are (almost) endless. If not serving at once, the pie can be covered and chilled before it goes into the oven and then heated when ready to be served.
Ingredients for the Meat Base
1 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs minced lean lamb
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp corn starch (or regular flour)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp each dried thyme and rosemary
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup sliced kale (optional)
Salt and pepper
Ingredients for the Potato Topping
1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Peel, wash and half potatoes.
Place in large pot filled with salted water. Bring to a boil, decrease heat and let simmer until potatoes are tender and easily crushed, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Warm up the milk and butter in a small saucepan.
Set about 1 cup of the potato water aside.
Drain potatoes in a colander, return to the pot and either rice or mash with a potato masher.
Add milk and butter mixture, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Use additional potato water if the potatoes are not creamy enough.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
While the potatoes are cooking, place the ghee into a large sautee pan and set over medium high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add onions and carrots and stir until they begin to color, about 4-5 minutes.
Mix in the minced garlic and stir for another minute making sure that it doesn’t brown.
Add the lamb, salt and pepper and stir to let the lamb brown, approximately 5 minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine, letting it cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, herbs and stock and simmer with a closed lid for another 10 minutes for the mixture to thicken.
Mix in the vegetables and adjust seasoning to taste.
Transfer the meat to a baking dish (approx. 9 x 9” square, or 11 x 7” rectangular dish)
Spread the mashed potatoes over the lamb mixture.
Bake until the mash is golden brown and bubbly on the sides, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.