OK, let’s face it, making this Shepherd’s Pie is a mammoth undertaking. I made it for a formal dinner party for friends a few months ago. The effort was worth it. Rich, meaty confited lamb with flavour packed duchesse potatoes, red wine and rosemary. What’s not to like?
Ingredients for 6:
For the lamb
- A whole shoulder of lamb, weighing approximately 3kg
- 1 bottle of dry white wine
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
For the duchesse potato
- 1.2 kgs of potatoes, peel and cube.
- 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 egg yolks
- 120g grated parmesan
For the sauce
- The reserved pan juices from the lamb
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 glove of garlic, well crushed
- 1 teaspoon of roughly crushed rosemary leaves
- 150 ml of lamb stock (use a very good beef stock if you have no lamb stock)
- 150 ml good full bodied red wine
- Unsalted butter, to finish
For the herb oil
- 50 ml groundnut oil
- 50 ml olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh chives
Now on the day before, put the apron on and start by …
- First making the herb oil. Blitz all of the ingredients together in processor until the herbs are as fine as possible. Pour into a bowl or jug, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate to allow the flavours to develop,
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Place the shoulder of lamb into a large roasting tin, cut the bulb of garlic in half and along with the rosemary and some seasoning, add to the lamb.
- Add the bottle of white wine to the roasting tin.
- Wrap the entire roasting tin with several layers of tin foil.
- Put the lamb into the oven and cook for 8 hours (I usually cook this overnight).
On the day …
- Remove the lamb from the oven and take the shoulder out of the tin.
- Strain the remaining pan juices and set aside for later.
- One the lamb is cooled, shred the meat from the bones, removing the garlic, rosemary and any sinew and fat.
- Place the shredded lamb meat onto clingfilm and roll into a sausage shape – about 5 inches in diameter, allow to cool fully and then place into the fridge to set.
- To make the duchesse potatoes – place the potatoes into cold, well salted water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until tender.
- Drain and reserve a little of the water.
- Into a large bowl, add the cubed butter and parmesan.
- Push the drained potatoes through a potato ricer into the bowl of butter and parmesan.
- Stir the potatoes well and make sure all of the butter and parmesan is well mixed.
- Beat the egg yolks and stir rapidly into the potato mix.
- If the mixture is too heavy to stir, add a very small amount of the water that you reserved when you drained the potatoes.
- Set aside to chill.
Construct your shepherd’s pies ….
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Remove the chilled confit lamb shoulder from the fridge. Cut into 2 inch slices and remove the cling film. Place on a baking sheet.
- Fill a piping bag with the duchess potato mixture and pipe onto the top of each slice of lamb confit.
- Brush with melted butter and place into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, until the confit is warm and the potatoes are golden.
- Whilst the lamb is cooking, make your sauce:
- Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and gently free the shallot, garlic and rosemary for a few minutes, until soft.
- Add the red wine, cook on a high heat to reduce by half.
- Once reduced, add the pan juices and stock. Reduce by half.
- Pass the sauce through a fine sieve to remove the shallot, garlic and rosemary.
- Finish in a small pan by adding the redcurrant jelly, stir until melted. Add a few cubes of chilled butter to enrich the sauce and add a glossy shiny finish.
Assemble the dish ….
- Add your red wine sauce to a warmed plate.
- Place the shepherd’s pie in the centre of the sauce.
- Add a few drops of herb oil around the edge of the plate.
- Serve immediately. I like to serve this with a side dish of griddled asparagus, steamed courgettes and petit pois.