No cooking experience in New Zealand would be complete without rustling up a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs shepherd’s pie. Known by many names and local variations elsewhere (i.e. cottage pie, Cumberland, Pâté chinois), this version has a distinctive lamb mince in the stead of beef or mutton.
Having been in Marlborough for a bit over a month now, cooking for the harvest workers at Marlborough Vintners, I thought it high time to delight them with this classic dish. Of course, I had to put my unique spin on it, adding in a light parmesan béchamel and a cream of mushroom soup (I used my vegan recipe and subbed whole milk). I also chose to add corn along with the peas and carrots to up the vegetable quota.
I honestly had never made this dish with lamb, and was quite pleased with the bold mix of flavors. It tasted like home in a bowl.
This can also be made vegetarian by subbing lentils for the meat (Shepherdess Pie).
Shepherd’s Pie w/ New Zealand Lamb
2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
8 Tbsp butter
½ cup cream
1 clove garlic, minced
½ bunch parsley, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup béchamel (a lovely recipe is here)
1 cup cream of mushroom soup (my recipe here)
2 cups vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas
Butter to sauté
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 8 x 13 casserole dish with butter and set aside.
For the potatoes:
Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in medium sized pot. Cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain.
Meanwhile, heat milk, garlic and butter. Pour over hot potatoes and mash, adding parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Brown the lamb with the onions, then add rosemary and Worcestershire. Season with salt.
Sauté the remaining vegetables in butter. Add the béchamel and mushroom soup. Set aside.
Assemble the dish:
Add the browned lamb and onion to the bottom of the dish. Top with vegetables and gravy/soup mix, followed by the mashed potatoes.
Bake covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until potatoes brown a bit on the top.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.