Shepherds pie with parsnip mash

It’s a classic family dish that can feel a little neglected from time to time, if you are like me your recipe for this much loved dish changes from week to week, so I think it’s about time for a revamp.

Sneaking vegetables into the mash aswell as the mince means you can make the most of what’s in season, and once it’s cooked the meal is all done! Parsnips can easily be replaced by turnips or swede, and depending on how open-minded you are, the mince can take any finely chopped vegetable.

Recipe – serves 2

  • 250g minced lamb
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ½ leek, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large parsnip (or two small), peeled and chunked
  • ½ stock cube made up to 220ml stock
  • 2tsp plain flour
  • 350g potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • 1 tbsp brown sauce
  • Small bunch thyme, leaves chopped
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 20g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Boil the potatoes in some salted water for 20 minutes until soft, adding the parsnips after 5 minutes. Drain and return to the pan to dry out.
  2. Fry the onions in a little oil until they start to brown (5 minutes)
  3. Add the carrot and leek and continue cooking for a few minutes until starting to soften, remove and set aside.
  4. Add your lamb, breaking up with a wooden spoon, cook until no longer pink (10 minutes or so) and then add your vegetables back in along with your flour.
  5. After a minute to combine the flour add the brown sauce, stock and thyme ensuring you scrape up any brown bits from the pan, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180°c
  6. Mash the potatoes and parsnips with a little butter and season. Don’t add any milk as this will make them too wet. When mashed to your desired consistency give them a good stir/whip with a fork for extra creaminess.
  7. Season your lamb mixture to taste (it should have some gravy but not be swimming – spoon some out if it looks too wet, or add a drop more if too dry) and spread in the bottom of a baking dish.
  8. Using a spoon, drop dollops of mash to cover the top and then join them together with a fork so there are no gaps. This  avoids combining the mash with the meat and makes a nice rough finish. Don’t make the top too smooth or you won’t get the lovely crusty golden bits when you cook.
  9. Bake on a high shelf for 30 minutes until golden then cool for a few minutes and serve.
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