Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shepherd's pie

The next time it rains, when the last drop has fallen to its soil, go outside. Close your eyes... I n h a l e.  
Can you smell it? Amazing isn't it? It's as if the rain has stripped away Nature's cloak with its crystal soak and revealed her innermost secrets. The world suddenly smells alive. Just breathe it in and feel it rush through your veins, pulsating Mother Earth's very life essence through your soul and Really Wake Up.

If I could bottle the scent of newly washed air and dew-laden gardens I would dab it onto my wrist and sniff whenever the world began to look less colourful or my connection to it wavered. So, CHANEL or Dior or anyone, get right on that please :).

Freshly fallen rain not only makes the day smell better, it also makes me hungry. Perhaps it is from the revitalising cool air on my face after hours spent jailed indoors by the water's slanted bars that sparks my appetite, I'm not really sure. But it's not just me either. Once the pitter pattering stops, my male-half suddenly awakes from his laptop trance and asks, "what's for lunch?"

Today, nothing tastes better post-elemental shower than a warm, nourishing pie from the oven. During my short-lived meat-eating-era my favourite savoury pie was a Shepherd's - the combination of pillowy mashed potatoes covering the saucy flavoursome meat just did it for me. What is your ideal rainy day lunch?

Shepherd's Pie
from Gourmet Traveller
serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
800 gm minced lamb (I used 200g less as I wanted it to be more saucy.)
2 tbsp tomato paste
250 ml (1 cup) brown chicken stock (see note)
125 ml red wine
60 ml (¼ cup) Worcestershire sauce
120 gm (1 cup) frozen peas, defrosted
1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Creamy mash
800 gm desiree potatoes, coarsely chopped
250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
100 gm butter, softened

Preheat oven to 200C. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic and bay leaf and cook until vegetables are soft and start to colour (7-10 minutes). Season to taste, add mince and stir, breaking up mince with back of spoon until brown (5-7 minutes). Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add stock, wine and Worcestershire sauce, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is thick (20-25 minutes). Stir through peas and parsley and season to taste.

Meanwhile, for creamy mash, place potatoes in a pan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to the boil over medium heat and cook until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain potatoes and return to pan. Add cream and butter and mash until smooth. Season to taste.

Divide mince mixture between four 2 cup-capacity ovenproof dishes. Top with potato and bake until golden (10-15 minutes). Serve with extra Worcestershire sauce to the side.

ease: 4/5.
prep: 40mins.
cooking time: 10mins to brown potatoes.
total: 50mins.

taste: 4.5/5. Those shepherd's sure know their pies.

R loved this and was asking for more the next day. Apart from tasting the mash (which was lovely with its buttery downiness) I didn't taste the meat mixture, but I smelt it cooking and it made me swoon with salivation. The smell almost ended my sixteen years of vegetarianism...almost.

would I make it again: Yes.

recipe: Shepherd's Pie


  1. Wow, 16 years of vegetarianism! Impressive, lady! But y'know what, no great loss as you still get to eat the tasty tasty mash and smell the meat cooking. Which is almost as good as eating it.

    Shepherd's Pie has always been one of my favourite dishes in the world. In fact, I'm making it on a grand scale in a few weeks time, so guess I'm going to be using this recipe! Yum =) Thanks!

    Jax x

  2. I love the smell of rain and the smell of after :)) And, I love sheperd's pie!! It's such a comforting dish. Sigh.. so many of my cherished things in one post! :)

  3. We finally had rain after almost 6 weeks without!! It was wonderful. I stood and just watched it, and almost got all teary eyed!

  4. Beautiful! This shepherd's pie looks so comforting and delicious.



  5. Second product on the list:

    Though I'd be just as happy with this pie :)

  6. I can almost smell it right now......mmmm. I have not made shepherd's pie in so long, how could I forget about this comforting dish?

    For rainy day lunches I do love soup with crusty sourdough. However, to be a bit more creative, I'm also going to throw in my love of a nice modest-sized bowl of al dente pasta. Or a good tuna melt, yum!
    Heidi xo

  7. Perfect description of the air after a heavy rain. I especially love spring showers and used to dash out and purposefully get drenched in them when I was in high school(and immediately take a hot shower of course). These darling little pies do look like a wonderful follow-up.

  8. One of my hubby's fav. I've tried a couple of different recipes but none with wine, so how can I not try this one.

  9. I totally kind of love shepherd pie. And I haven't made in for-ever!! What's up with that? Seeing this, I think that will be fixed!!

  10. Oh man, this sounds sooo good! Great photos!!!

  11. Totally delish, although I must say, I make mine with the Sanitarium vegetarian casserole 'mince'....yes, the stuff in the can (LOL!) and it is surprisingly tasty and satisfying. You have inspired me, I think we will be having a shepherd's pie favourite part is the bits of crispy potato on the top. Perfect food for this weather.

  12. We still have a lot of hot weather to go in Florida, but some chilly nights are coming and this will be perfect. It's one of my favorites and I don't have a good recipe.
    Great job on the photos....does everyone love mashed potatoes as much as I do?

  13. I love the air right after the rain... you're so right, it smell absolutely amazing and makes me hungry as well :)

    I'm not surprised, it inspired you to make this shepherd's pie :)

  14. who knew a shepherd could nail it in the kitchen as well--this is a perfect combination of flavors and textures. pure comfort!