English Shepherd’s pie

Photography: Michael Hart

Traditionally a way of using up leftover roast meat, this can be made with diced or minced lamb – either way, it’s a winner.

Mash hits

It was a piece of kitchen equipment that gave rise to the modern version of this meat and-mash dish. In the 1870s, the newfangled mincing machine made short work of processing offcuts of meat and a classic was born. It is widely believed that the dish came from the north of England and Scotland, where there are large numbers of sheep. Shepherd’s pie, as the name suggests, uses mutton or lamb, and is not to be confused with cottage pie, which contains minced beef. A regional variation is the Cumberland pie, which includes a layer of cheese and bread crumbs on top of the mashed potato.

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cooking time 1 hour & 20 minutes



Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Place the potatoes in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until tender. Drain and mash with the butter.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onions, carrots and celery for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, until softened.

Stir in the lamb and cook for 10 minutes, until browned. Sprinkle over the thyme and stir through the Worcestershire sauce, cornflour mixture and lamb stock. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Transfer to a 22 cm (8-inch) square baking dish, then spoon over the mash. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until golden and bubbling.



Cornflour – cornstarch




Nutritional facts Per serving: about

  • Calories 500
  • Total fat 13.2 g
  • Saturated fat 6.1 g
  • Sodium 200 mg
  • Sugars 10 g
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English Shepherd’s Pie