[apologies for the poor quality of the photograph – it looks better than this]
I love shepherds’ pie. I don’t dislike its poorer cousin, cottage pie (made with beef), but much better is a cottage pie, made with lamb mince. So as I have a couple of friends coming for supper tonight, I popped into Normans on Tuesday and bought some lamb mince, enough for tonight and to pop a load of cooked filling into the freezer.
£12. Twelve pounds [falls over]. And it didn’t even look that much meat. Still … Last night I chopped onions, carrots and courgettes, and bunged them in the slow cooker in readiness. And this morning, I browned off the mince (in the wok – free firelighters!); I’ve always been wary of slow cooking mince without browning it first, and I’m not trying it for the first time with 12 quids’ worth of lamb.
The browned lamb went into the slow cooker, and I added some chopped herbs, about ¼ of one of those huge 99p tins of tomato purée (which reminds me, the rest of it is in the fridge), about ½ a glass of red wine, which has been sitting by the hob waiting to be used, some chopped garlic, and one of those little stock pot things. And a very little water, because I’ve been caught out before with sloppy stuff in the slow cooker – the lid fits too well! And that’s it, really – it’s comfort food, not posh.
I used always to add a can of baked beans to shepherds’ pie filling, but flushed with success after the home made baked beans, I took a different tack this time. I’d run out of haricots, and so bought a bag from the Indian grocer up the road; they were labelled as haricots, but when I slow cookered them yesterday, they looked more like butter beans by the time they were done. They also enlarged themselves quite dramatically, so look out for a post in the next day or two involving leftover haricots and tomato puree! Anyhoo, after the mince mix had driven us mad all morning, I added some? most? of these pseudo haricots, and left it all to sit.
I had intended top top it with a mash of swede and potato, possibly with finely chopped spring onions (guess what I found in the back of the vegetable drawer? 🙂 but, sadly, the swede was unpleasantly squishy. So I did a load of cheesey mashed potato, with the spring onions, bunged it on top of the lamb, and put it in a hot oven.
And it was probably the best shepherds’ pie I’ve ever made.
Pudding? Well, it’s a weekday, and I haven’t much time, and Aldi had a 99p Apple Strudel. Nothing wrong with shortcuts when you’re busy, eh? Nobody wanted much more, so it remains in the freezer.