Shepherd’s Pie

Posted on February 14, 2015 by Caroline in Recipes

I fear I may be becoming slightly obsessed with my freezer lately.  Everything I seem to make must either come from or be placed into it.  I blame Olaf.  Seriously though, I think it’s the time of year – the cold, dark nights call out for comforting, hearty food but with work and school runs and after school clubs and play dates and homework and housework and...well you know what it’s like…there isn’t really the time for cooking this type of food from scratch each evening.  Hence my freezer is king.

This Shepherd’s Pie will serve 6 adults:

Olive oil

Soffrito Mix (I make these myself in bulk and then freeze in cooking size portions) made from approximately 1 onion, 2 carrots and 2 celery sticks diced finely.

400g lamb mince (mince freezes brilliantly – all you need to remember is to take it out first thing in the morning.  If you forget, just blast in the microwave on a medium setting for 4-5 minutes)

1 garlic clove, minced

175ml red wine

2 x beef stock cubes

1 tbsp plain flour

2 large handfuls of frozen pea, broad bean and French bean mix

2 tbsp frozen mint

Mashed potato (this is another thing I do when I have a bit more time – I make masses of mashed potato and then freeze in plastic tubs.  They make life so much easier as I can take them straight out of the freezer and into my microwave which on really rushed nights is a godsend.)

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Fry off your soffrito mix (straight from the freezer) in a little olive oil.  Once softened, which always seems to happen much quicker with frozen vegetables, add the lamb mince.  This will create quite a lot more water than if you were cooking from fresh so spoon that off, plus any excess fat from the lamb.  Once the lamb has browned, add the garlic and fry off for a couple more minutes.

Add the red wine and boil to evaporate off the alcohol.If you don’t want to use wine just go straight to the next step.

Once your wine has reduced down pour over enough boiling water to cover your mince mix by about 2cm.  Obviously this depends what pan you use but it’ll be about 750ml and essentially you’re looking to have enough liquid in to cover the vegetables once they are added too.  Pop in your stock cubes and bring back to the boil.

Sprinkle over the flour, stirring it in quickly to avoid lumps, and then pop in the vegetable mix and mint.  Wait for the liquid to bubble again, and simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the gravy has reduced and thickened.

Place mix into an ovenproof dish, top with your mash and a drizzling of olive oil and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

If you are wanting to freeze your pre-made Shepherd’s Pie for those nights when you really do just want to eat without any hassle, stop before baking the pie.  When it comes to eating it again it can be cooked straight from the freezer in about 50 minutes, or until the pie is piping hot all the way through.

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