Now that we’re in the throes of January blues I need more than just my weekly roast to see me through! I’m currently working my way through a list of childhood homemade favourites to cook for my boyfriend (I’m a typical girlfriend who loves to spoil him with food!) and a couple of weeks ago it was the turn of Shepherd’s Pie.
There’s lots of different variations to this recipe and although it’s traditionally made with lamb mince, I grew up with it being made with beef mince, which is what I used here. It’s probably similar to many that you’ve seen before, but it’s one my Nan has passed on to me so clearly it’s a popular variation! I’ve also used this as a chance to try the new Knorr stock pots, which boast that they add a rich and intense flavour to any dish. As most of these are gluten free, and their stock cubes are the only ones I use for the same reason, I was excited to see how they worked in this dish!
1 tbsp oil, for the pan (I avidly use Lucy Bee Coconut Oil for all cooking!)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3tbsp tomato purée
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
500g beef mince
290ml beef stock (I used Knorr Beef Stock Pots)
1tsp dried Rosemary and Thyme
Season with salt & pepper as desired
850g potatoes, peeled and chopped
25g grated cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and carrots and cook until they soften and brown.
2. Add the mince and cook until brown.
3. Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, rosemary & thyme and stir in well. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring in well before adding the rest.
4. Cover and simmer for around 30 minutes until the liquid has thickened. Add seasoning as desired.
5. Whilst the meat is simmering, make up the mashed potato topping. Boil the potatoes in a pan until they are soft and breaking up. Drain, return to the pan and mash until smooth.
6. Add the milk and butter a little at a time and mash/mix thoroughly into the mixture. To get a smooth mix, I first mash them into the potato and then give it a good stir, repeating until all the milk and butter has been added.
7. Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC. Once cooked, turn the meat mixture out into a large dish and spread evenly. Top with the mashed potato, smoothing the mixture evenly and into all of the corners.
8. Using a fork, drag it in long lines across the potato to create the classic pattern. I like to sprinkle the grated cheese on the top for extra flavour, it’s delicious melted on to the mash!
9. Cook for around 30 minutes, until the potato is golden.
The little pots are just like jelly! To use, you turn them into a jug and make up with 500ml of boiling water, just like you would with a stock cube. Stir continuosly until the jelly dissolves and you have your stock. Personally, I don’t think they’re any more amazing than the stock cubes, but some people might find them easier to use or have a better flavour, particularly if you are only really using stock in your recipe for the liquid (unlike this, where I also had chopped tomatoes). They’re available in the shops now, at around £2.50 for 8 pots.