We are all feeling a chill in the air this week – sadly I packed away my Summer clothes during the week (I have a small wardrobe!) and out came the jumpers and jackets. What I hate more than the cold however is the dark evenings and the only way I can survive them is to have something nice to look forward to for dinner. This recipe is one of my new favourite healthy Winter meals that can also be prepared ahead.
Normally, during the Winter I regularly make Shepherd’s Pie with minced beef and top it with a good layer of mashed potato. It’s not one of my own favourite dishes but everyone else loves it. However, because, I hate cooking dishes I don’t like myself I have been on the lookout for something different and this recipe* is a delicious twist on the classic Shepherd’s Pie using minced lamb instead of beef, and sweet potato instead of normal white potatoes. The lamb has a sweet, succulent flavour that when combined with the other ingredients turns it into an absolutely delicious pie that everyone will love. Lamb has a higher fat content however than beef so I always pour away the excess once the mince is browned. The sweet potato rosti-type topping is lovely and light and not as heavy as a traditional mashed potato topping. I sometimes serve it with extra potatoes (sweet potato wedges or traditional mashed spuds) and some green veg to keep everyone satisfied and full and so they don’t raid the fridge half an hour later! And yes there is someone in my house who claims he hasn’t had a dinner unless (normal) spuds have been served! The grated cheese on top gives it a nice crispy topping.
(adapted from an original recipe of Lorraine Pascale’s)
You will need a 2 litre ovenproof dish (at least 5cm deep). The enamel dish in the picture measures 32cm x 23cm.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients for the pie
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (remove leaves and chop roughly)
4 leaves of fresh sage, roughly chopped
750g lamb mince
3 carrots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
400g tin / carton of chopped tomatoes (finely chopped if you can get them)
400ml beef stock
70g tomato purée
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 spring onion, chopped
100g frozen peas
1 tsp caster sugar (optional / to taste)
Ingredients for the topping
2 medium sweet* potatoes (peeled)
50g grated red Cheddar cheese (optional)
Salt & Pepper
*You can use normal potatoes or a mix of both
Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C), 400°F or Gas Mark 6
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped rosemary and sage leaves
- Add the lamb mince, stir and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat is browned all over.
- Drain any liquid and excess fat from the saucepan.
- Add the diced carrots and the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes
- Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, stock, Worcestershire sauce and cook for a further 15 minutes
In the meantime, get started on the sweet potato topping by bringing a saucepan of water up to the boil, put in the 2 whole sweet potatoes and simmer for 5-6 minutes. (Note – if you are using normal potatoes cut them in half as they take longer to cook)
- Drain the potatoes and set them aside until cool enough to handle
- Grate the potatoes roughly
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and toss in the grated potatoes, mixing well
- Season with salt and pepper
- Remove the sauce from the heat and add the spring onions and frozen peas
- Taste the sauce and add a pinch of sugar if the tomato flavour is too sharp
- Put the mixture into an oven proof dish and scatter the grated potato over the top, fluffing it up with a fork
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes
Note: If you are adding the cheese, 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time scatter it over the top to melt it fully
Enjoy………give it a try and please let me know how you get on by sending me your comments.