Shepherds Pie

Nowadays we use mince in our shepherds pies, however back in Victorian times they would always use up their leftover roast meat as a frugal way of living. It must have been some treat back then as it still has a certain endurance about it every time I eat it. The same with a cottage pie also, which if some of you aren’t aware, that is used with beef mince or in this case would have been leftover from your roast the previous day.
 I love doing this and creating different recipes with the leftover meat than just putting it cold into a sandwich for lunch the next day. 
  This way definitely gives more flavour I feel to the dish, a deeper earthier taste. Plus it brings a coarse texture that can be more appealing to others also. Plus it’s less fatty. 
This meat was taken from just a fore leg of Lamb, a bit like a large shank that I managed to buy and I got two huge parts of the leg for only £8! Down from £21! What a bargain!
  So you see my readers, not always is a roast an expensive dinner, it’s looking for that bargain first and it’s also what you manage to get out of it. 

Shepherds pie

(Using leftover Roast Lamb)

Ingredients: (Serves 4 approximately )
  • Roughly 6 floury potatoes such as Maris piper, wilma or marfona peeled and cut into even size chunks.
  • 100 ml double cream 
  • a good size knob of unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to season
Meat mixture:
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • approximately 400g leftover Roast Lamb meat coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1/2 leek sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1/2 celery stick finely chopped 
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a small sprig of thyme
  • Any gravy/juices/stock saved from the joint, use for a sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • a good splash of red wine such as a cabernet sauvignon/merlot or Cotes du Rhone
  • a few splashes of Worcester sauce
  • a few grinds of cracked black pepper
  • Salt if needed or if too strong tasting, use a pinch of caster sugar to even out.

 * Boil potatoes in a pan of boiling water until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes adding the ingredients to it. Set aside.
  • preheat oven to 190c 
  • In a hot frying pan pop in your rapeseed oil and fry off your onion for about 2-3 minutes. Then add your celery and carrot and fry off for another minute.
  • Add in your leeks to the mixture, fry of for a further minute and then add in your garlic and thyme.
  • Add your chopped meat, gravy/juices,tomato puree, Worcester sauce, wine, pepper stir and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Taste as you go along and you can add more wine or water as you wish if it becomes dry.
  • When the mixture is reduced down to a gravy like sauce and the meat is tender again pop into a pie dish, top with your mash and roughen the mash with a fork.
  • Then place into the oven for another 20 minutes or when the topping is golden brown and bubbling at the edges. 

*  Serve on its own or with some green vegetables and a glass of red. 

More Yummy Comfort Food.

It was, I quote, WAS a lovely, sunny morning today in Leicestershire.  I am not sure if It was the same where you are in the Uk? Or even in the World for that matter?  Please do not rub it in if you are lounging on a sun stretched beach somewhere in the Seychelles or somewhat close to that Idilic thought!  Mind you If you are, I would like to know about the Food you are eating?   Anyway, going off topic…
  I looked out of my conservatory and starting thinking of Spring, flowers, fresh linen and a little thought of “Holiday food” as the Sun shone through and actually made it feel quite warm as I sipped at my cup of tea looking at how much the Garden needed a “Spring Clean.”
 These thoughts didn’t last much longer though as a Grey cloud came over above my house and dampened my thoughts with yet ANOTHER wet, heavy shower of rain. I then had to pull on a cardigan and turn the heating back on! 
  My thoughts then of food quickly changed and of course I then wanted, Yummy, comforting, wholesome food.  Which brought me back to a couple of weeks ago…One Sunday afternoon when I didn’t fancy cooking a Full Roast and was wanting something different. I didn’t expect this dish to be so Yummy and a great Family recipe, which I failed in taking many pictures, so I do apologise for this! 
 I had to share this recipe though because I feel If you want a wholesome dish, maybe a Pie, but you cannot be bothered with making or even rolling out some Pastry as I know some of us sometimes think.  Then this is ideal.  I cannot wait to do it again to be honest.

Chicken and Veg pie with a Potato Cheesy topping:


(Depending on how big your pie dish is, mine is about 10 inches by 5 inches wide)

Chicken Pie Mix:

–  3 Chicken Breasts, 2 if large , but you could also use thigh meat if you wanted. I used Breast meat for this for a more chunkier meat.
–  1 small onion chopped roughly.
–  1-2 carrots depending on how big, diced 1cm cubes (pre cook these before going in the pie)
–  1 leek sliced 1 cm in width 
–  Dried herbs (I used schwartz schwartz de provence mix)
–  1 Chicken stock cube. My need to add water if your white sauce becomes too thick.
–  Frozen petit pois or peas
–  50g of unsalted butter
–  2 tbsp Plain flour
–  300ml of milk (Mine was semi skimmed but ok to use whole milk)
–  1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
–  salt and pepper to season
–  Fresh parsley chopped finely.

Potato topping:

–  Approximatley 6-8 Good sized Maris piper potatoes. If you have mash left over, it will go for another meal.
–  100ml of Double cream
–  1 tbsp of  Dijon Mustard
–  A good knob of unsalted Butter
–  Salt and Pepper to season
– Grated Mature Cheddar, you decide on how much on top! 

Preheat your Oven to 180-200c.  
Peel and Boil your Potatoes in salted water until tender. 
Drain the Potatoes well and Mash with a Masher or a Potato ricer along with the Cream, butter, Mustard and seasoning. Cover the pan and leave aside, keeping warm.
  Fry off the onion with your Chicken in One big Pan such as above (Mine was a Cast Iron pot) until starting to colour. 
In the meantime take a small saucepan to make your White sauce to go with your pie. Fry off the butter in the small saucepan, add the flour and use a whisk to make a roux (Equal amounts of fat and flour) to form a paste. Add your milk gradually whisking, do not have on a high heat. Add the mustard and seasoning and you will see a thick white sauce.
  Add your carrots, leeks, peas and herbs to the other big pot with the chicken and onions. Then add all Mixture together like so as above.
 Place into a pie dish and top with the mashed Potato. Bake in the Oven for about 20 mins once starting to brown. Then top with grated cheese and bake for a further 10 minutes or if needed more. 
 A Yummy, Comforting, Chicken and Veg pie with an extra special cheesy Mash.