Shepherd’s Pie with cheese champ topping

When the nights close in and the leaves start falling from the trees my mind turns to hearty oven cooked favourites like shepherd’s pie.
Here’s a belting one from Gordon Ramsay’s new book Ultimate Home Cooking.
He says it’s his “all-time favourite family recipe” and it’s certainly tasty and very easy to make.
I “pimped” mine by adding a chopped red chilli at the same time as the garlic and it gave it some underlying heat.
It’s just as tasty a day later reheated and served with buttered carrots or, as in this case, some cavolo nero from the allotment dressed in Di Simone olive oil and chopped anchovies.

Ingredients

olive oil, for frying

1kg minced lamb

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthways andfinely sliced

1–2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp tomato purée

100ml  red wine

250ml chicken stock

2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE TOPPING

750g-900g potatoes, eg Maris Piper, peeled and cut into chunks

50g butter

3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

100g  Cheddar cheese, grated

50ml–100ml milk, optional

1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Place a large, wide frying pan or hob-proof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add a dash of oil and fry the mince in batches, seasoning each lot, until well browned. Add the garlic for the last 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2) Put a little more oil in the same pan and cook the onion and leeks over a medium heat for 5–7 minutes, until completely softened. Add Worcestershire sauce to taste, then stir in the tomato purée.

3) Return the mince to the pan and stir well. Pour in the wine, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Bubble for a couple of minutes to burn off the alcohol, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, then add the rosemary and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Cook gently for 10–15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced slightly and the flavours are well combined. Set aside to cool.

4) Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and mash until smooth. Mix in the butter and seasoning, then add the spring onions and three-quarters of the cheese and mix again. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. If the mash is too dry add a splash of milk to loosen.

5) Put the lamb mixture into a 28cm x 22cm (11in x 81⁄2 in) baking dish and top with the mashed potato. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and a little salt and pepper. Bake for 15–25 minutes or until the potato is golden brown and the meat is bubbling underneath, and serve.

Taken from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Home Cooking

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