Clever cooking is a method used by a vast majority of fancy restaurants. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fish pie (using fillets) on the dinner menu, then a fish soup (using bones and offcuts) featured on the lunch time menu the next day. The chefs employ this tactic to make the most of their ingredients and keep costs down, which you and I can do at home too.
This twist on a shepherd’s pie was born out of the desire to use up half a pack of organic lamb mince, rapidly fading vegetables and the leftover feta cubes. It’s just as simple to put together as a normal shepherd’s pie, but with a boost of flavour. As much as I adore regular mashed potatoes, the combination of carrot, swede and potato lends a sweetness that highlights the spiciness of the meat element.
Spiced Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 2 (with a smaller portion left for lunch the next day)
1) Peel and dice one small (about the size of a bunched fist) swede, one medium potato and one large carrot. Place in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil, then simmer for a good 30 to 40 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180C.
2) Meanwhile, peel and dice two small onions, then deseed and chop one yellow pepper into small cubes. Sauté these gently over a medium heat in 1tsp culinary coconut oil. Add one peeled and finely diced garlic clove and continue to cook until soft.
3) Add 250g organic lamb mince and cook until no pink remains. Add 1tbsp fresh chopped rosemary and sprinkle over some of spice mix from yesterday’s recipe – a combination of ground coriander, cinnamon, paprika, hot chilli powder, tumeric and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and stir until combined. Add a mug full of frozen peas to the mix and cook for five minutes, or until visibly defrosted.
5) The lamb will sit happily whilst you wait for your roots to become soft. When you’re ready to assemble, make sure the lamb is fairly wet as some will evaporate in the oven. Add the lamb mix to your chosen casserole dish, top with the root veg mash, cover and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. When this time is up, remove from the oven and top with crumbled feta before returning for a final ten minutes with the lid off.
I didn’t feel it was necessary to serve this with a side of vegetables, as it already contains so many. We ate ours in bowls with spoons, which is the very best way to eat dinner during autumn. Do let me know if you try this recipe. Do you have an ingredient that always seems to be leftover? Maybe I could create a recipe around it, so please leave any suggestions in the comments.