‘My Favourite’ Shepherds Pie (Serves 4)

If you have grown up in the British Isles there is no doubt that you have eaten numerous variations of this traditional dish. Shepherds pie is the perfect winter comfort food and this recipe by Delia Smith is my all time favourite, the addition of the cheese and leeks, slightly caramelised on top of the mashed potato takes the dish to a higher level!…Serve simply with peas.

450g minced lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

75g swede, peeled and chopped

75g carrot, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1 tablespoon plain flour (gluten free if required)

275ml lamb stock

1 tablespoon tomato purée

Salt and black pepper

For the topping:

50g mature Cheddar, grated

2 medium leeks, cleaned and cut into 1cm slices

900g floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper or King Edward)

50g butter

Salt and black pepper

(You will need a buttered baking dish approx. 19cm square x 5cm deep)

  1. Gently heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onions, fry for 5 minutes until slightly browned. Add the chopped carrot and swede and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove all the vegetables to a plate.
  2. Now turn up the heat, and brown the meat, stirring to break it up.
  3. Add a good seasoning of salt and pepper, return the vegetables to the pan along with the cinnamon, thyme and parsley. Next stir in the flour and gradually add the lamb stock, stirring to incorporate. Finally stir in the tomato purée.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat to low, cook gently for about 30 minutes .
  5. While the meat is cooking, make the topping. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized chunks, steam until they are completely tender.
  6. Drain the cooked potatoes and mash with the butter and some seasoning (you can use an electric hand whisk, on a low setting, to do this)
  7. When the meat is ready, spoon into a baking dish, level it out, then top, evenly, with the mashed potato. Sprinkle over the leek slices and finally with the cheese.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven, 200’c, for about 25 minutes, until the top is crusty and golden.

Provençal Rack of Lamb with Crushed Peas (Serves 4)

This is really one of the best rack of lamb recipes I have come across. It is simple yet elegant and is quick to cook, so you could easily serve it as a mid-week treat. It is definitely special enough to serve to guests, in fact it has been a favourite dinner party dish of mine over the years. It’s ideal for dinner parties as you can prepare the majority of the recipe beforehand – the lamb once bread-crumbed will happily wait to be cooked when your guests arrive – it just needs about 15-20 minutes in the oven. For a quick option, this recipe is great with steamed new potatoes, but to make it extra special serve with Dauphinoise potatoes with Gruyére cheese, recipe below. I make Dauphinoise potatoes both with and without the Gruyére, I think this lamb dish suits the latter but if you prefer it without use my other recipe (recipes here)

This recipe is from Raymond Blanc’s cookbook ‘Foolproof French Cookery’, a title which contains all my favourite words, particularly ‘foolproof’! I like to serve lamb on the pinker side, so if you prefer it more well done, cook it for a little longer. The recipe calls for fresh marjoram but this can be difficult to get so I often replace it with fresh sage, and because sage is slightly stronger in flavour I reduce it to one tablespoon instead of two (see recipe).

Ask your butcher to not only French trim the rack of lamb but also to remove the fat covering the meat, this may seem usual as the fat is normally kept to keep the lamb moist and for flavour, but in this recipe the breadcrumbs will protect the meat and give it flavour.

Gluten Free Note: Almost, all of my recipes on Menu Mistress are gluten free, or suggest substitute gluten free ingredients. Unfortunately this recipe uses breadcrumbs which cannot be substituted. If you avoid gluten but don’t have an allergy, thus can eat ‘gluten contaminated’ food, then you could eat this recipe – just scrape off the breadcrumb crust when serving the lamb, believe me it is still delicious with the crushed peas! However, if you do have an allergy to gluten unfortunately this recipe is not for you!

A Tip:  Breadcrumbs – If you don’t have stale bread at hand for the bread crumbs use a fresh ciabatta loaf , it’s texture is naturally drier so it actually will make great breadcrumbs even if it is fresh – just slice off the crusts.

For the Crushed Peas:

600g peas, thawed if frozen

85ml extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped marjoram, or 1 tablespoon chopped sage (see note above)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Juice ½ lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Provençal Breadcrumbs:

75g thickly cut stale white bread (or fresh ciabatta – see ‘tip’ above)

2 handfuls fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped

1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

For the Lamb:

2 x  racks of lamb, French trimmed and trimmed of fat (see note above)

2 tablespoons olive oil

20g unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First prepare the peas. Put them in a food processor and gently pulse to just crush them – you want them to retain a lot of texture, so be careful not to purée them! Transfer to a small saucepan, stir in the olive oil, chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. To make the breadcrumbs place the bread in the clean food processor and pulse to make coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the herbs, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Season the racks of lamb with salt and pepper. Melt the butter with the oil in  frying pan and brown the meat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a preheated oven, 190’c, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lamb from the oven, brush over with the mustard – avoiding the bones and ends of the meat. Press in the Provençal breadcrumbs so that the meat is coated, apart from the two ends, (you can do this a few hours in advance).
  5. Return the lamb to the oven and cook for a further 15 – 20 minutes (if you have a meat thermometer it should register 65-70’c). Rest for 5 minutes before carving.
  6. Meanwhile finish cooking the peas. Cook the crushed peas over a medium heat with the lid on for 4 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and check the seasoning.
  7. Serve the hot crushed peas on plates and top with the carved lamb cutlets.

Roast Lamb & Cider served with Flageolet Beans (serves 6) 

Cider with lamb may sound like a strange combination, but believe me it works beautifully and is absolutely made for these more autumnal days. Like all of the recipes I share, this is very easy to cook – making it possible to cook midweek if you fancy. This recipe is taken from ‘Pure, Simple, Cooking’ by Diana Henry (yes, her again!); she recommends that this dish is served with flageolet or cannellini beans (recipe here) – and of course she is absolutely right!

1 Leg of lamb (approx. 1.8kg -2kg), trimmed of excess fat

2 large cloves garlic, cut into slivers

2-3 sprigs thyme

50g unsalted butter, softened

250ml dry cider

A good slug of calvados or brandy

570ml chicken or lamb stock

175ml crème frâiche or double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Make small incisions all over the leg and stuff with a slivers of garlic and a little thyme. Rub the butter all over, stuffing some down the incisions as you do so, season generously.
  2. Place in a preheated oven, 220’c, roast for 15 minutes then turn down the heat to 200’c, and continue to roast for another 45 -50mins.
  3. Remove the lamb to rest in a warm place covered with foil for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile pour the cooking juices into a jug and skim off the fat and discard.
  5. Set the roasting tin over a medium heat, add the cider and calvados, boil to reduce by two-thirds. Then add the stock and the reserved cooking juices, reduce this  by two-thirds, then add the crème frâiche (or cream). Boil until slightly syrupy.
  6. Serve the lamb, sliced, with the sauce in a warm gravy boat and the flageolet beans on the side (recipe below).

Lamb Biryani (Serves 4)

This is a lovely ‘one pot’ recipe, great for using up leftovers – you could make it with other roast meats such as chicken, beef or pork. It’s definitely a recipe that you will want to make again and again, an easy Monday option!

200g basmati rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2cm piece ginger, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 handfuls baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon plain flour (gluten free if required)

2 tablespoons mango chutney

200g leftover roast lamb, or whatever you have left (see note above)

1 cup lamb or chicken  stock

50g almond flakes

50g butter, melted

Sea salt and black pepper

Greek natural yogurt to serve

Fresh coriander, chopped, to serve

  1. Cooke the basmati rice according to the instructions on the packet, and set aside.
  2. Place the oil, ginger, garlic and onion in an ovenproof dish and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the curry powder, flour, chutney, and the chopped lamb, season with salt and pepper then stir well. Pour in the lamb stock. Top with the reserved, cooked rice, sprinkle with the almonds and drizzle with the melted butter. Cover with a lid (or tin foil) and place in a preheated oven, 200’c.
  5. After 20 minutes remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with the yogurt and the chopped coriander.

Lamb Chops & Parsley Butter served on a Bed of Watercress with New Potatoes (Serves 4)

Despite the simplicity of this recipe it has lots of flavour. The watercress is an excellent accompaniment to the lamb and the parsley butter with its touch of lemon juice enhances the flavours superbly. A real midweek treat! You won’t use all the butter but it is great to have in the freezer – ready to slice and add to steamed potatoes on any occasion. This recipe calls for curly parsley rather than flat leaf, simply as it adds a little more texture and has a milder flavour, but you can use either type.

400g new potatoes

8 lamb chops

A little olive oil

100g butter, softened and cubed

A bunch of curly parsley, chopped (see note above)

Juice of ½ lemon

200g watercress, trimmed

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First make the parsley butter. Place the butter in a bowl with the chopped parsley, lemon juice and seasoning, mix well. Spoon on to a sheet of cling film and roll into a log shape, place in the freezer, wrapped in the clingfilm. Do not wash up the bowl that you used for mixing the butter – you can use it to season the steamed potatoes when serving!
  2. Steam the potatoes for 20 minutes or so until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile place the watercress on your plates.
  4. Season the lamb chops and brush with a little olive oil, fry on a griddle pan (or in a normal frying pan) for about 2½-3 minutes each side so that they are still pink in the middle. Place the chops on the plates, on top of the watercress.
  5. Now take your reserved ‘butter bowl’ and place the cooked potatoes in it, mix them around so that they get a good coating of the leftover butter, then place them on the plates.
  6. Finally cut four slices from the parsley butter and place on top of the chops.

Pomegranate & Honey Glazed Chops with a Radish and Cucumber Tzatziki (Serves 4)

This recipe is from Diana Henry’s cookbook ‘Pure, Simple Cooking’, it is one of those cookbooks which I find myself going back to again and again, it has lots of really simple yet stunning recipes. This recipe has the flavours of Greece, it is a perfect summer dish, and if the UK weather permits, even better al fresco! I like to serve it with white long grain rice. Make sure you allow time to marinate the chops, anything from 1-24 hours – but the longer the tastier!..

8 thick lamb chops (chump chops)

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper


2½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses

8 tablespoons olive oil

1½ tablespoons honey

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Radish and Cucumber Tzatziki

200g radishes, finely sliced

½ cucumber, cut into small cubes

300g plain Greek-style yogurt

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons mint, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

To serve:

Large bunch of coriander, leaves picked

Olive oil

1 lemon

3 tablespoons of fresh pomegranate seeds

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together, coat the chops generously and leave to marinate, refrigerated, for 1 to 24 hours.
  2. To make the Tzatziki simply mix the radishes, cucumber, yogurt and garlic together, then stir through the mint leaves and olive oil.
  3. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, cook the chops for about 3 minutes on each side, do not have the heat up too high otherwise you will burn the honey and pomegranate mixture.
  4. Serve the chops on a bed of the coriander leaves, dressed with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and the tzatziki on the side, sprinkle over pomegranate seeds. Serve with rice.

Lamb Chops with Shallot Chutney (Serves 4)

This recipe is best cooked on a griddle pan, but you can use a regular frying pan. The tangy chutney really makes this dinner extra special. This recipe is from Marcus Wareing’s book ‘Marcus at Home’, despite being a michelin starred, super chef, his recipes in this book (as the name suggests), are mostly straightforward and of course tasty! I like to serve this dish with tarragon green beans (courtesy of ‘Leiths How to Cook’ book), as I think that they work particularly well with the chutney, you can find the recipe for these on my Recipes Pages.

8 lamb loin chops

olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

For The Shallot Chutney…

3 large echalion shallots, chopped

200ml malt vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon

50g capers

30g caster sugar

2 teaspoons nigella seeds(optional)

  1. To make the shallot chutney, put the shallots, 200ml vinegar, capers, caster sugar, nigella seeds (optional) and 75ml of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce until there is no liquid remaining. Finally stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
  2. Heat the griddle pan (or frying pan) until very hot. Brush the lamb chops with oil and season with salt and pepper. First place the chops in the pan on their fat-side, lean them against each other for support. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the fat renders and becomes crisp.
  3. Lay the chops on their sides and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, basting with the rendered fat. Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with the tarragon green beans, some buttered new potatoes and drizzle the shallot chutney over the top.