Annie Bell’s shepherd’s pie

How many of us have grown up with the comfort of shepherd’s pie? A bottle of tomato ketchup and a bowl of buttered peas turn it into a homecoming. Any leftovers can be reheated.

shepherd's pie
Chris Alack



2 tbsp groundnut oil
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large or 2 small carrots, trimmed,peeled and thinly sliced
1 leek, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
2 sticks celery heart, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
750g lamb mince
150ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
sea salt, black pepper


1.3kg maincrop potatoes, peeled, halved or quartered if large
3 tbsp milk
120g unsalted butter, diced, plus an extra knob for baking
1 bunch slim spring onions (approx 75g trimmed weight), sliced
150g small cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp groundnut oil

1. For the mince, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and fry the vegetables and herbs for 8-10 minutes over a low heat until glossy and tender, stirring frequently.

2. Add the lamb mince, turn up the heat and cook stirring until it colours and separates.

3. Add all the remaining ingredients, including plenty of seasoning, bring to a simmer and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes. There should still be plenty of juices, but if there appears to be a lot of fat on the surface skim off the excess.

4. At the same time, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the potatoes, bring back to a simmer and cook until tender and a table knife can be inserted with ease.

5. Drain them using a sieve or colander and leave for a minute or two to steam dry, then pass through a mouli-legumes or mash with a potato masher.

6. Gently heat the milk with the butter and some seasoning, and once melted stir into the mash.

7. Transfer the mince to a shallow ovenproof dish (eg, 20cm x 30cm), discarding the herbs. Spread the potato over the surface and fork it into a crisscross of furrows. You can prepare the pie to this point in advance, cover and chill it until required.

8. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Dot the surface of the pie with butter. Toss the spring onions and cherry tomatoes with the oil and scatter over the surface. Cook the shepherd’s pie for 40-50 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

Recipe by Annie Bell. Food styling: Clare Lewis. Styling: Sue Radcliffe.