Sydney weather is beginning to suffer from a case of the colds. It is the point when you have realised winter is coming and frantically make plans to try and finish off all those little jobs around the house you planned to do but didn’t get around to. The only explanation for this last minute bout of ‘household commitment’ is so that when winter hits you can spend the weekends inside wrapped in a blanket and say “At least we finished the…”.
In our case the statement is: “at least we finished painting the entry and corridor”. Well, it will be when Scotty and I actually finish painting the entry and corridor. We had grand plans to suck it up and spend one weekend knocking it over, but as painting always takes much longer you expect, a couple of weekends later and we are still going. Fingers crossed we finish it soon… painting can really test a relationship (luckily I’m good at taking direction as a painters assistant).
After a day’s painting I knew Scotty and I would want something heartwarming to eat for dinner so when we had finally finished the painting, Scotty started cleaning the brushes, rollers etc while I began a hearty Shepherd’s Pie (well, technically its a Cottage Pie as we only had beef mince on hand and not lamb… but let’s just chalk this one up to folk etymology and move on shall we?).
Shepherd’s Pie is truly honest fare which both warms the cockles of your heart and makes you feel good about life. After quickly reading a few different recipes it becomes apparent that there are many different versions and they all look great – which means you can’t really go wrong and can add most of the flavour from things already sitting in your pantry. The recipe below is my version made up on the spot and absolutely spectacular in flavour! I encourage you at some point this winter, to give Shepherd’s Pie a try.
TASTY SHEPHERD’S PIE
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
500g lamb mince (I used beef)
500ml (2 cups) beef stock
1 tbsp dried oregano
3 sprigs of lemon thyme
1 large handful continental parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
6 large potatoes, peeled, chopped
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. In a large saucepan heat olive oil and add onion, carrot and celery and cook until the onion becomes transparant. Add the mince and cooked until browned.
Add stock, oregano, parsley, lemon thyme leaves, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper and mix well. Transfer mixture to a pie dish, cover with alfoil and bake in oven for 1 hour.
While the mixture is in the over cook potato in a saucepan of salted boiling water until tender. Drain well and return to the pot mashing until smooth. Add butter and milk and stir well till completely incorporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the dish from oven and increase temperature to 200 degrees celcius. Discard alfoil and top the mixture with mashed potato, using a fork to spread it out evenly. Return the pie to the oven uncovered and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until mashed potato is golden. Serve straight away.