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Shepherd's Pie by Mark Hix

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

The Ivy c.1990 from Signature Dishes That Matter (Phaidon)

Serves 4-6

This is very traditional delicious shepherd's pie combination and really benefits from using good beef stock. The mince is cooked in lots of liquid, but you sieve half of it which acts as a delicious gravy for serving. Which is a terrific idea! I always love to put of good quality grated Cheddar cheese on the top for a good golden brown finish.

Photography & Styling, Caroline Marson


900g good quality minced lamb and beef, mixed and not too fatty  vegetable oil, for frying 250g onions, peeled and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed  10g thyme, chopped finely 25g plain flour 2 tablespoons tomato purée (paste) 150ml red wine 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce  1 litre dark meat stock (beef or lamb) salt and freshly ground black pepper 


1kg floury potatoes, such as King Edward or Maris Piper

125g unsalted butter

4 tbsp milk


Season the minced meat. 

Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan (skillet) until it is very hot and cook the meat in small quantities for a few minutes, then drain it in a colander to remove all the fat. 

In a thick-bottomed pan heat some more vegetable oil and gently fry the onion, garlic and thyme until they are very soft. 

Add the meat, dust it with the flour and add the tomato purée (paste). 

Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. 

Slowly add the red wine, Worcestershire sauce and dark meat stock, bring it to the boil and simmer for 30–40 minutes. 

Strain off about 200ml of the sauce to serve with the pie. 

Continue to simmer the meat until the liquid has almost evaporated. 

Take it off the heat, check the seasoning and allow it to cool. 

To make the pie, put the meat into a large serving dish or individual dishes and top with the potatoes (as below). 

Bake for 35–40 minutes. 

For the Potato Mash Topping:  Peel & cut the potatoes into evenly sized pieces.  Cook in a pan of boiling salted water for about 20 minutes until tender.  Drain & return to the pan over a gentle heat to remove any excess moisture.  Using a masher or a potato ricer, thoroughly mash the potatoes then mix them with the butter & milk & season to taste.

For the Veggie Version

Follow the above recipe, but I used the same quantity of plant based 'mince' from Meatless Farm Co. I also added Henderson's Relish instead of the anchovy rich Worcestershire sauce and Veggie stock instead of the meat stock.

For the potato mash; I test drove the super quick dehydrated mash potato of my youth, from Idahoan Foods. Which was fabulous!

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