Lamb

‘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. This is my all time favourite Shepherds Pie recipe, and it is a great dish to share with friends. There are, admittedly, quite a few ingredients in this recipe, it’s definitely not designed with a student budget in mind, hence it’s good to share as you can also share the cost! 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.

You could, of course, make up this pie in 4 small containers for individual use, freezing those which you don’t eat straightaway.

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.

Lamb Chops with Herb Butter (Serves 1)

Lamb chump chops are a cheaper cut of lamb so are  a great choice for cooking on budget – the really good news is that they take minutes to pan- fry!. The parsley butter is the real winner here as it completely lifts the flavour of the chops. The good news is that you won’t use all the butter, so just roll it, wrap it in clingfilm and freeze it. Once frozen, you can slice off pieces as and when you need them; either again for this dish or with other cuts of meat, or simply to spruce up some steamed potatoes or vegetables. You will really appreciate having this ‘quick fix’ in the freezer!

2 lamb chump chops

100g butter, softened and cubed

A bunch of parsley, chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

Olive oil

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.
  2. 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.
  3. Finally, cut a slice from the parsley butter and place on top of the chops.

*Tip – The Herb Butter will keep in your freezer for months, it is great sliced over most cooked meats, and will liven up plain steamed vegetables – it’s particularly delicious over new potatoes.