The family recipes of Deborah and Simon Jessey

Shepherd's Pie


  • 1lb of minced lamb
  • 2lbs of Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 or 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of butter (¾ of a stick)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 17 ounces (500ml) of beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 large splash of Worcestershire sauce


Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and carrots and soften them for a few minutes. Turn up the heat, crumble in the minced lamb and brown, tipping off any excess fat. Add the tomato paste and the Worcestershire* sauce and fry for a few minutes. Pour over the stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and cooks for 40 minutes, uncovering halfway.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Boil the potatoes in lightly-salted water for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain, then mash with the butter and milk.

Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork. At this point, the pie can be chilled and frozen for up to a month. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the mince is bubbling through the edges. To bake from frozen, cook at 320°F (160°C) for 60-85 minutes until piping hot in the middle. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

*Americans struggle with the pronunciation of Worcestershire sauce. The correct way to say it is WUSS-TER. The English do not pronounce the "shire" part when referring to the sauce, except a very few misguided individuals who watch too much American TV. When referring to the place, the correct way to say it is WUSS-TER-SHER.