Shepherd's Pie with a Cheesy Leek topping

5 from 1 reviews

Easy to prepare ahead of time, freezes like a dream, re-heats beautifully, tastes sublime and ... is nutritious and filling.

Inspired by Delia Smith


  • 450g (1lb) lamb mince
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 75g (3oz) carrot, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 75g (3oz) swede, peeled and very finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 300ml (1 cup) lamb stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • 50g (2oz) mature Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 1 medium leek, cleaned and cut into 1cm slices
  • 1.5kg (3 1/2 pounds) potatoes (a type that will mash well such as Desirée or King Edward) - peeled and cut into even-sized pieces
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions until they are tinged brown - about 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrot and swede and cook for 5 minutes or so, then remove the vegetables and put to one side.
  2. Now use the same pan to brown the meat. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.
  3. After that, give the meat a good seasoning of salt and pepper, then add the cooked vegetables, cinnamon, thyme and parsley.
  4. Next stir in the flour, which will soak up the juices, then gradually add the stock until it is all incorporated. Finally, stir in the tomato purée. Now turn the heat right down, put the lid on the pan and let it cook gently for about 30 minutes.
  5. While the meat is cooking, you can make the potato topping. Boil or steam the potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes) with a sprinkling of salt.
  6. Now, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400ºF (gas mark 6).
  7. When the potatoes are done, drain off the water, return them to the saucepan, cover with a clean tea towel to absorb the steam and leave them for about 5 minutes. Next add the butter and mash them to a purée - an electric hand whisk makes it a lot less fuss. Taste for seasoning.
  8. When the meat is ready, taste for seasoning and add a dash or three of Worcestershire sauce, to taste. Now spoon it into a baking dish (mine is about 30cm x 20cm), and spread the mashed potato evenly all over. Now sprinkle the leeks on top of the potato and scatter the cheese over the leeks.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden and crusty.

Keywords: family, midweek, make ahead