In terms of cooking, one of my favourite things is looking in the fridge and cupboards midweek, and putting together a wholesome family meal, using up leftovers and those half packets of weird and wonderful food items. This is of my recent efforts which I thought was worth sharing.
I am a big believer that recipes are just a guide towards a delicious meal, and the following is no different. If you don’t have all the ingredients listed below, don’t worry, improvise, or make do without.
We had had a great roast dinner at the weekend, and due to a few family members unable to attend we had quite a lot of lamb (leg) left over. We had made a great biryani the day before which used up about half of the meat but the rest was crying out to be turned into a rich and unctious shepherd’s pie.
Leftovers Shepherds Pie
- 1 Onion finely diced
- 1 Carrot finely diced
- 1 Stick Celery finely diced
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary chopped
- 1 Glug Olive Oil
- 300 grams Leftover Lamb chopped
- 1 Splash Red or White Wine (I only had red!)
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Plain Flour
- 250 ml Lamb Stock Ideally made from the roasted bones)
- 750 grams Good quality potatoes
- 20 grams Gruyere/Parmesan
- 150 grams Good Quality Butter
- Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan. Start off by preparing the vegetables, make sure you a good, sharp knife and fine dice the onion, carrots and celery, and chop up the fresh Rosemary. Start softening these in a generous glug of good oil (I used a British Rapeseed oil but any decent olive oil will do) in a thick based cast iron pan, Put on a low/medium heat and put the lid on to ensure they steam well and soften – with the lid left off the veg can remain crunchy and will spoil the finished dish.
- Once softened, add the chopped up lamb and continue cooking, stir regularly to ensure nothing burns. Turn the heat up slightly and add a good glug of wine (I used red, but white would work equally well too). Let the wine reduce until the pan is just about dry, this will help intensify the flavour, then if you have it, add a splash of good quality of balsamic vinegar and continue stirring until thick and unctious.
- Next add a Tbsp of plain flour and stir to ensure the mixture is coated and then add some lamb stock (approx 250ml) – this should then create a really rich and flavoursome gravy – however, you don’t want the final mixture to be too wet, so let it reduce until it has a good thick consistency. Check the lamb mixture for flavour and add salt and pepper generously if needed.
- Pour this mixture into your pie bowl and leave to settle and cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Get your spuds into a large pan of salted water and boil for about 20 mins, slightly over cooked is better for mash than under cooked. Once cooked drain well and get back into a pan on the hob. I like to dry out for a minute or so before adding the butter. For a Shepherd pie you want quite a dry mash so, only add butter….and lots of it. for 750g of spuds I will add around 125g of butter – a lot I know, but this is stick to your ribs, Winter food and for me, it is worth it. Mash the spuds in the butter until all the lumps are gone and when stirred the mash automatically lifts from the base of the pan. Check for seasoning and ensure that salt is added if necessary to give that fantastic flavour. I had some Gruyere and Parmesan sitting in the fridge which I added to the mash for an extra bit of flavour & luxury!
- Once the mash is ready, if it is the right consistency, it should fall out of the pan onto the lamb mixture, spread over and decorate how you see fit.
- Put the pie into the pre-heated oven at 180C (fan) and cook for about 20 minutes. The pie should start to bubble and the top should brown, if needed you can put under the grill to finish it off and get a really nice crisp topping.Serve up with buttered greens and pickled Red Cabbage and Enjoy!
I decided to top this with a really good mash potato, although you could potentially add potato slices to turn it into a traditional Lancashire hotpot. The secret to great mash is….great potatoes! I must admit, I really struggle to find a good potato in any of the big four supermarkets. If this is your only option, my recommendation would be the Roosters Albert Bartletts that are available from most of them. However, my go to supplier of great spuds in the North East is the Moorhouse Farm Shop in Stannington. They supply 7.5kg bags of great spuds for about £5 and they mash, roast & chip absolutely brilliantly and seem to last for weeks without sprouting like supermarket spuds do.