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Cooking your own…local produce…Shepherds pie

The mince theme continues on the blog, appropriate I think given that much of the meat involved in the horsemeat scandal has been in products containing minced meat. For me there’s a clear message for us all ….cook your own food with produce you can trust from local producers or your local butcher.

Most of the meat I buy comes from Farmers Markets where I can talk to the producers and it’s really interesting to hear their news and also pick up tips for cooking. It’s the same at my local butcher, he’s happy to chat about his suppliers and usually asks what I’m cooking and will very often offer cheaper cuts of meat. The lamb I used for this shepherds pie came from Lochbyre Rare Breed Meat and their flock of Sheltland Soay sheep. It has a good strong flavour and is quite lean compared with other lamb mince I have used.

Shepherds Pie was traditionally made with the leftover meat from Sundays roast and would be served up for dinner on Monday. The meat would be minced and my mother talks of also using leftover vegetables by mincing them with the meat to make the base for the pie. If I’m lucky enough to have leftover meat it’s how I like to make shepherds pie but in the absence cooked meat I use minced lamb.

This is real tasty comfort food and I’ve been making this recipe for 30 years and to be honest it’s never really changed much. When the boys were small they loved it with baked beans but as they’ve got older I serve it with whatever seasonal vegetables are available.

Real tasty comfort food

Real tasty comfort food



500g Minced Lamb

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

6 medium size mushrooms

100 ml Tomato ketchup

1 tsp Mustard

1 beef stock cubes. (The recipe also works well with Kallo French onion stock cubes)

Salt and black pepper to season


450g potatoes

4 Tbsp Fresh breadcrumbs.

2 – 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves removed.

Heat a large deep sauté pan, add the minced lamb, break up any lumps with a spatula and continue cooking until the mince is browned. If necessary  drain the mince to remove excess fat, returning and meat juices to the mince.

Return the mince to the pan, add the onion and carrot continue cooking for approx 5 minutes.add the tomato ketchup and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the mustard, crumble in the stock cubes and add approximately 200ml  water.

Cover and cook for 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking for about 20 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken.

Meanwhile prepare the potato topping, cook the potatoes until tender,drain and mash with the creme fraiche or natural yoghurt.

Finally chop the rosemary leaves and mix with the breadcrumbs.

Spoon the filling into a …casserole, top with the potatoes and use the back of a fork to smooth over. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, place in the oven and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until piping hot and the top is golden.

Ready for serving....a good family meal

For further information on Lochbyre rare breed meat see …. and

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