Shepherd’s Pie – with rosemary and butternut puree

Sheperd's Pie_LRLovely dinner with friends yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the whole afternoon cooking and chatting with the man. As it has now been exactly one year that I live among the Brits, I thought it was the perfect occasion to try a very traditional dish, and one that creates quite a bit of culinary debate. See, I used to think that Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie were just two different names for the same dish. But as I was recently told:

“A shepherd’s pie is made with LAMB!
A cottage pie is made with BEEF!”

I have learned on the Jamie Oliver forum, that the cottage pie was made when they slaughtered the old milk cow that every cottager kept for dairy foods. And the reason for the lamb version being called shepherd’s pie seems now obvious: ever seen a shepherd tending flocks of cows?

By the the vegetarian version is a Gardener’s Pie..which, again, makes absolute sense.

Now here is my take on the shepherd’s (LAMB) pie, I have slightly altered it using a butternut and rosemary puree instead of the classic potato one.

Ingredients (6-8): 1 kg good quality minced lamb – 1 kg potatoes – 1 butternut – 200 g canned diced tomatoes – 1 red onion – 2 garlic cloves – 2 handful of frozen peas – olive oil – 6 tbsp milk – dried rosemary – 1/2 glass white wine – 1 large egg – grated parmesan

Instructions: 

1. Slice the onion. Press the garlic Heat the oil in a large saucepan,add in the onions and garlic, then soften the onion for a few mins.

2. When the onion slices are soft, turn up the heat, crumble in the lamb and brown

3. Add the diced tomatoes, the frozen peas, rosemary to taste, then fry for a few mins. Then lower the heat, add in the white wine and leave on low fire for 20 minutes to simmer. At the last minute, add in the beaten egg, this will thicken the juice and help keep the mince together, so it is not too crumbly.

4. In the mean time, preheat the oven to 180 C, then make the mash.

5. Peel the potatoes, and cut the butternut into big cubes/slices. Boil the potatoes and butternut slices  in salted water for 20 mins until tender. Drain, then mash with the olive oil (to taste) and milk.

6. Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork. Sprinkle with some parmesan, rosemary and olive oil.

7. Bake for 20-25 mins until the top is starting to colour and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. Flash under the grill to brown (optional). Enjoy with a glass of red wine and your favorite veg (on the picture is is fresh baby spinach leaves).

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