Some classic dishes never change and Shepherd’s pie is one of them. Simplicity is the key to success with this dish.
1 onion peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
900 g/2lb minced beef
1 tablespoon of bovril, dissolved in a little hot water
3 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon tomato puree
3 carrots, peeled and diced
400 ml /14fl oz chicken stock
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
For the topping
1.3 kg/3lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
200 ml / 7fl oz single cream
1 20g/4oz butter
1 egg yolk
In a large pan, gently saute the onion in the vegetable oil for about 10 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add the mince a little at a time and cook until browned. Then add the Bovril water, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, tomato puree, carrots, stock and some salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 50 minutes, then transfer to a pie dish ready for the mashed potato.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well, then return to the pan and add the cream, butter, egg yolk and a seasoning of salt and pepper. mash well, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Cover the mince mixture with the potato and run a fork over the top for decoration. Place in an oven preheated to 350F for 20 minutes or until the potato is nicely browned.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve. You can prep this dish in advance, leave to cool and then reheat later, although will need more time in the oven – about 40 minutes.