I love the book by The Incredible Indian Spice Men which accompanies the series of the same name. They have included many traditional favourites in the book, giving a twist to them with a hint of spice. I have already posted another spiced Shepherd’s Pie on my blog a while back (by the Hairy Bikers) but this one is different with its chilli mash. So the title of this dish – Shepherd’s pie with oomph and aah – suits it perfectly. Yum!
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
For the topping
4-5 large baking potatoes
25ml/1fl oz double or single cream
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1-2 green bird’s-eye chillies, chopped (seeds removed if you like)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed in a pestle and mortar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the filling
1 tbsp vegetable oil or rapeseed oil
4 bay leaves
8cm/3 1/4in piece cinnamon stick
15g/ 1/2oz butter
500g/1lb 2oz lamb mince
2-3 onions, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
1 tsp tumeric
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1. First prepare the topping. If you’re in a hurry, cut the potatoes into chunks, boil them in salted water for 20 minutes, then drain and mash. But for the best results, bake the potatoes: preheat the oven to 200c/400F/gas mark 6, place the potatoes directly on the oven shelf and bake for about 1 hour. Remove the baked potatoes from the oven, and while they are still warm cut them in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Push the flesh through a fine sieve or potato ricer into another bowl. (We boiled our potatoes and just mashed them – we don’t do puree mash! So just do whatever you prefer.)
2. Once the potatoes are mashed, mix in the eggs (just use yolks if you prefer), along with some cream to loosen the mix. Season with a pinch or two of ground nutmeg, some finely chopped green chilli, crushed cumin seeds and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
3. No prepare the filling. Heat a large casserole dish (or pan if you don’t have a hob-proof dish), add the oil, and when it’s hot add the bay leaves and cinnamon, then fry on a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat off, add the butter and let it melt.
4. Put all of the remaining filling ingredients except the fresh coriander in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn a medium heat back on underneath the casserole dish (or pan) and add the filling mixture, along with 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) water. Stir and cook for 5 to 6 minutes with the lid on.
5. Stir once more and then cook for another 10-15 minutes, then remove the lid and cook until the mixture is nearly dry. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200c/400F/gas mark 6.
6. Stir the chopped coriander into the cooked mixture and pour into a baking dish. Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick and level the surface. Cover the mince with the spiced mash topping and cook on the top shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve with some crusty bread or green veg.