If there is any special occasion where we are required to bring a dish to share with others, I would normally choose to prepare the English Shepherd's Pie. I recently found out if you are using other than lamb's meat, it should be called Cottage Pie. Ah well, the recipe is the same. I discovered and learned the dish from my beloved aunt Polly. I only watched her did it once and then tried it on my own. It was extremely difficult to cook up the dish for the first time and it took me many hours to get it done. Over the years I have simplified some steps to make the pie easier to be prepared, hence lessened the cooking time. Well, practice makes perfect!
The ingredients for English Shepherd's Pie are as followed:
- Mixed Vegetables
- Prego Spaghetti Tomato Sauce (I preferred Mushroom flavour)
- Minced Beef (any minced meat will do)
- Dutch Lady Full Cream Milk
- Salt and Pepper
- Before you start cooking, peel and chop the potatoes. Then, boil them.
- Chop the onion and cook it with mixed vegetables.
- Once the mixed vegetables have soften, add minced beef.
- Pour the Prego Spaghetti Tomato Sauce and stir all the ingredients together. Add salt and pepper. (In order to reduce the acidity of the tomato sauce, you can add a spoon full of sugar although it is optional. Some people do not like the sour taste of the sauce.) Once all ingredients are cooked, pour the whole thing into a casserole and spread it evenly as the base of your Shepherd's Pie.
- To prepare the mashed potato, you need to boil all the potatoes until they are really tender. After you strain the potatoes, transfer them into a larger pot. Then, mash them with a large spoon or potato masher.
- Add some butter to the boiling full cream milk before pouring it into the mashed potato. You can add a pinch of salt and pepper to kick it up a notch. The purpose of the milk is to soften the texture of mashed potato. Do make sure you add it little by little as you do not want to make the mashed potato too mushy. Nowadays I do not boil the milk, I just pour it directly onto the mashed potato and mix it with butter.
- Cover the base or the beef with mashed potato before baking it till golden brown. Brush the top with melted butter. You will need to poke some holes before putting the Shepherd's Pie into the oven. (You would not want to see the pie burst inside the baking oven!) Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 180 degree.