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Legendary Shepherd's Pie

A hugely popular, classic family dish. Most families have a cherished version, and this is ours.

Serves 6


  • 1 tbs vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped

  • 1kg minced lamb

  • 1 large carrot, diced

  • 1 heaped tbs plain flour

  • 100ml red wine

  • 300ml left over gray or stock (beef or chicken and it can be made with a cube)

  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 heaped tsp Marmite

  • 2 tbs mushroom ketchup

  • 1 tbs dark soy sauce

  • 3 heaped tsp tomato puree

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 large potatoes (approx. 800g weight in total)

  • 50g butter


Heat the oil in a large shallow casserole dish with a lid. Add the onions and cook on a low heat until they are translucent, then turn the heat up slightly and cook until they take on a little golden colour. They must not brown before they soften or they will taste bitter. Allow 10-15 minutes for this. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/Gas 4.

Turn up the heat to medium and add the lamb mince. Stir and break up the mince and cook until it has lost its pinkness. Stir in the carrots. Add the plain flour and cook for 1 minute. Then add the red wine and cook until is has bubbled away.

Add the seasonings: gravy or stock, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, mushroom ketchup, soy sauce, tomato puree and seasoning. Stir thoroughly. Cover and put in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.

In the meantime, peel the potatoes, cut into even-sized chunks, place in a saucepan just covered with water and add salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until they are cooked, about 25 minutes. Drain, add the butter, mash and taste for seasoning.

When the lamb is cooked, transfer it to an ovenproof ceramic dish or leave it in the casserole dish. Spoon over the mashed potato using a fork to make swirl patterns on top - these make a lovely crusty topping.

Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Serve.

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