Can’t fail dinner fixes (Shepherd’s pie)

Spring lamb shepherd's pie

This failsafe, quick-to-prepare shepherd’s pie recipe is comfort food at its very best, and it works all year round too.

Shepherd’s pie is a classic crowd-pleasing family supper, and with lots of lovely spring lamb in season right now, you can enjoy it at its very best.
One of the nicest things about shepherd’s pie is that you can do all the preparation in advance – which means no last-minute faffing and plenty of time left to relax with family and friends.

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 500g of spring lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 500ml beef stock (instant is fine)
  • 900g of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • A large knob of butter
  • Approx 3 tbsp of milk

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  1. Heat the oil in medium saucepan and then add the onion and carrot and cook over a low heat until softened but not browned (approx. 5-10 mins). Add the minced lamb and then turn up the heat. Brown the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Then add the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and stock and simmer covered for twenty minutes. The take the lid off the pan and simmer uncovered for a further 15 minutes.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ fan 160C/ gas 4.

  3. Make your mash by boiling the potatoes until tender (about 15-20 mins) and then mashing with the butter and milk.

  4. Now assemble your shepherd’s pie. Put the minced lamb into an ovenproof dish and top with the mash. Drag a fork across the top of the mash to create a textured top.

  5. Bake for about 25mins or until hot through and lovely and brown on top

  6. Savvy tips

    1. You can chill and freeze the pie at the end of step 4.
    2. Sweet potato makes a lovely alternative mash as does a mixture of carrot and potato.
    3. According to your family’s tastes, customise the minced lamb by adding a 200g tin of chopped tomatoes, sliced carrots or courgettes, or even a 200g tin of baked beans.
    4. Instead of topping your shepherd’s pie with mash, you can slice the potatoes very thinly and layer on top before brushing with melted butter.

    What are your twists on shepherd’s pie? Leave your comments below

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I don't eat meat but I do a mean vegetable pie!

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My mum used to make this. What I disliked was that the top of the potato would go hard in the oven and hurt my mouth. If your child doesn't want to eat something, do ask them why, rather than scolding or ignoring the behaviour. It wasn't a problem for me as my brothers ate the hard potato and I ate the rest. But if I were making it I would definitely not make the potato brown as advised.

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When I chop my pots for the mash, I dice them to all the same size and now and again I par boil them and then just add them to the top rather than mash. It's a very different dish - lovely X x

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sliced tomatoes and grated cheese on top

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A great idea

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