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Shepherds Pie Recipe

A traditional dish, which should be made with lamb (unlike Cottage Pie - beef). This is our basic version, but if you look at the bottom of the recipe, there is a 'Cheats' version and a rather smart version, suitable for a dinner party.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards.


For 4 greedy people:

2 oz/60gr Butter
1 large or 2 medium Onions, peeled and finely-chopped
1 large Carrot, peeled and diced
1 large or 2 medium clove of Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped (optional, but recommended)
1 teaspoon (5ml) dried Mixed Herbs, or untraditionally, but for a real lift - Herbes de Provence from (
2 lbs/ 1 kilo of minced Lamb
2 tablespoons (30ml) Tomato Purée
1 tablespoon (15ml) Worcestershire Sauce (leave this out if using the red wine mentioned below
1 x 400gr tin of Tomato Soup, or ½ pint/300ml of Lamb Stock
1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt
A few grinds of freshly-ground Pepper
1 helping of our Mashed Potato (q.v)
30g Dried Chanterelles (optional)

Equipment needed: A shallow ovenproof dish about 21cm square


- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat and sweat the chopped onions and carrots for 5 minutes - the onions should look translucent but not brown.

- Add the chopped garlic (if using) and the mixed herbs, then sweat for a further minute.

- Increase the heat to moderate, then add the minced lamb and constantly turning it over and breaking it up (so it doesn't stick together in clumps) fry it until it's sealed and brown.

- Add the tomato soup or stock, purée and Worcestershire sauce, then the salt and pepper.

- Lower the heat, and cook for a further 15 minutes - stirring occasionally to make sure you have a smooth blend.

- While the meat mixture is simmering, heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.

- Transfer this mixture to a shallow ovenproof dish and cover with the prepared mashed potato. Use a fork to 'flip-up' the potato (if you wish some of the potato bits to catch some brown colour.

- Cut the remaining 1 oz/30mg of butter into little pieces and scatter them over.

- Bake the pie in the oven for 45 minutes - or until the potatoes are a little brown.


Cheats version: The mashed potatoes can be replaced with an 'Instant mixture' - in our experience 'Mr. Mash' - a French brand (but widely available) is the best we've tasted. If you follow their instructions, using milk (rather than their water option) and then add a little grated nutmeg - your guests won't know unless you tell them.

Extra smart version: Replace the tomato soup with 400ml of Red Wine and a small packet (30g) of dried Chanterelle mushrooms (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes) then adding the mushrooms and water at stage 4. Then continue as described. Delicious.

Dried chanterelles are again available from (

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a dinner party dish if made with red wine & chanterelles
a dinner party dish if made with red wine & chanterelles