Classic Shepherd’s Pie

In this version of a long-time family favourite, the ground lamb filling contains plenty of vegetables and red lentils, giving a rich flavour and texture.

Meat piePhoto: Shutterstock
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4 15minutes 1hour
Servings Prep Time
4 15minutes
Cook Time
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the lamb and cook over a high heat, stirring well with a wooden spoon to break up the meat, for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Push the meat to one side of the pan and add the onion. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned.
  2. Add the carrots, celery and leeks and stir well, then add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, stock and lentils. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Partially cover with a lid, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. While the meat mixture is cooking, preheat the oven to 200ºC and prepare the topping. Place the potato and parsnip chunks in a saucepan and pour over boiling water to cover by 5 cm. Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 15–20 minutes or until the potatoes and parsnips are very tender. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until hot.
  4. Drain the potatoes and parsnips well, and return them to the pan. Pour the hot milk over them. Mash them until they are completely smooth. Beat in the margarine and add pepper.
  5. Remove the meat mixture from the heat, add the chopped parsley and stir well. Spoon into a large ovenproof dish, about 2.5 litre capacity. Top with the mashed vegetables, spreading in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned. Serve hot, garnished with parsley sprigs.
Recipe Notes

For a special occasion, you can replace the lamb with lean ground venison. Omit the leeks and stir 250g fresh or frozen peas into the meat mixture after it has simmered for 15 minutes. In the topping, you can replace the parsnips with celeriac.