Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rustic Shepherd's Pie

Rustic Shepherd's Pie 

This dish which I have prepared is entirely dedicated to my oldest friend Tori who is also one of my closest friends. The recipe was made because someone trusted my cooking enough to ask me to make this dish for her and well after that time went by and after a year here I am with the Rustic Shepherd's pie. 

Now when you search for a recipe especially over the internet there would be numerous recipes to choose from and the difference in ingredients can be confusing. Should one use the Worcestershire sauce or not, should one keep it rustic or add the beautiful twists given by brilliant chefs and then you have to know what you want. For me I like the classic version of a dish. Often getting hold of a classic recipe can be quite problematic. So what I did was go through 5 to 6 recipes. I came to conclusion that some ingredients make this dish a classic one and so here is my version which is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver and BBC Good Food's recipes . I even used butter instead of olive oil and olive oil was used for both the recipes and my reasoning was simple. This dish was invented somewhere in the late 19th century and to me England and olive oil didn't quite match together. Oh but I must say the goodness of butter made the dish lip smacking good.

My emphasis was on fresh ingredients and a bit of extra work such as making the stock and tomato puree which I honestly believe is the key to a good dish. So you start a day ahead with the stock. And here comes the recipe

Here is what you need.

For the stock

500gm lamb bones
1 litre water
2 bay leaves
1 large onion
2 to 3 fat cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery
2 tbsp butter

For the tomato puree

400gm of tomatoes
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar

For the mince filling

500gm minced lamb
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 large onion
3 to 4 fat cloves of garlic
Salt as per taste
5 tbsp tomato puree
Salt as per taste
Freshly ground black pepper
A good splash of red wine vinegar
3 to 4 tbsp butter

For the mashed potato

1kg of potato
25gm of butter
100ml of full fat milk
Salt as per taste

20gm of butter melted to brush the pie

Wash the bones with warm water twice or thrice. Start with your stock simply heat the oil and fry the onion and celery and add the bones and let them brown a bit and add the water and the other ingredients and bring to a boil and then simmer till ti gets reduced to half its original quantity. Let it cool down and then strain this and put it in the refrigerator. You would see a layer of fat. remove it and you have your stock ready to be used.

The next day start by first marinating the lamb with salt, pepper and the red wine vinegar.                                Now make the tomato puree by simply bring a large pot of water to boil and switch off the gas stove .Then make a cross on the back of the tomatoes and add them to the boiled water and cover and leave for 10 minutes. Take the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and then peel them and blend them. Then bring this to a boil and add salt and sugar and simmer till all the water evaporates and you are left with a thick red puree.

Now melt the butter and add the finely chopped garlic, onion , carrots and celery and saute till softened and add the lamb and cook on high heat for 5 minutes and lower the heat and cook till the water evaporates and then add 5 to 6 tbsp tomato puree and keep stirring till well mixed. Now add 300ml to 400ml stock and bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Check from times to time and stir.

Pressure cook the potatoes and peel them and then smash them well . Add milk, butter and salt and make a smooth mashed potato topping.

Once the minced meat is cooked simply take a deep dished baking tray and pour the cooked minced in it and press with the back of a big serving spoon and then fluff up the mashed potato and add it and use a fork to draw patterns.

Now preheat oven to 180C and bake for 25 minutes to 35 minutes. It was a huge success for me since my friend loved it and took 2 servings :)

Enjoy a heart meal with a side of steamed peas or just by itself.

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