“Casseroles don’t have to be about canned ingredients and vegetables you normally wouldn’t think of eating alone, much less stuck between layers of sauce and breadcrumbs. They can vary from everyone’s favourite all time casserole- macaroni and cheese to the ultimate English casserole – Shepherds pie.” -Marcus Samuelsson
Traditionally Shepherd’s pie comes to us from England and is made with either lamb or mutton. It is minced lamb cooked with the sauces and vegetables and topped with mashed potato. It has to be eaten hot and only then can you savour the lightness of the mashed potato alongside a serving of minced lamb. You could also substitute lamb or mutton mince with beef mince if available.
When I was growing up I remember mom making Mince Meat Pie that is, mince meat mixed with macaroni and topped with a white sauce. The house used to smell so divine. The food she used to cook for us – the taste still lingers on – she was so good at Roasting Beef and slicing it so finely, she used to bake a Whole Fish smeared with masala – I could go on and on! Just so awesome. It’s because of her I discovered my passion for cooking. Now it’s my turn to cook for her when I go home to spend time with her. She doesn’t mind trying out something new and she will tell you whether she likes it or not.
Happy to be sharing a family recipe – it’s a sure knockout!
- Minced lamb -1 kg
- Minced onions -3-4
- Garlic minced -6-8 cloves
- Celery -1 stalk minced
- Carrot – 1( grated)
- Soya sauce – 1 tbsp
- Worcestershire sauce – 1 tbsp
- Pepper – 1 tbsp
- Water -1 and a 1/2 cups
- Salt to taste
- Egg yolk -2
- Flour -3 tbsp
- Parsley -1 tbsp (optional)
For the topping:
- Egg whites beaten stiff -2
- Potato -3/4kg (about 6 medium)
- Cheddar Cheese grated -1/2 cup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot milk-1/4 cup
- Melted butter – 3 tbsp
- Breadcrumbs – 1/2 cup
- In a pan, add butter and let it melt.
- Add minced garlic and fry well.
- Add minced onion and fry till golden brown.
- Add grated carrot, minced celery and lamb. On a low flame, keep covered till lamb is cooked. Open and fry till all the water dries up.
- Add the sauces, water and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add beaten egg yolks and flour, mix well till the lamb mixture thickens.
- Test for seasoning, if required a little salt, pepper and some parsley could be added.
- Pour the mixture into a greased casserole and keep aside.
Method for topping:
- To the boiled and mashed hot potato, add stiffly beaten egg whites, hot milk, grated cheese, salt and pepper.
- Spread on top of the lamb mixture and with the help of a fork, ruffle up the mashed potato, see that it is uniform throughout.
- Pour melted butter all over on top, sprinkle bread crumbs and bake in a preheated oven of 180 deg c for 25 minutes.
- Serve hot with garlic bread.
Chefs tips :
- In the place of minced lamb you could use minced beef too.
- Sometimes when I’m in a hurry, I thoroughly clean the mince, add a little turmeric and salt, put it in the pressure cooker and give it one whistle so that it is cooked – I don’t have to spend time checking out later. Just a time -saver.
- You have to make sure that the mince is all separate and not lumpy when you are cooking the meat layer.
- You could also add, a handful of green peas along with the carrot.
- As you are adding a couple of sauces, check and taste at the end to see if salt is required.
- You could also spoon the mashed potato mixture into a piping bag or a plastic cover, nip it at the end and pipe out any particular design you have in mind.
- Straight out of the oven, it’s comfort food – any time, any meal.
- This pie serves 6-8.
Dear friends – Would love to see pics of any recipe you’ve tried out.
Till my next post,