View ‘Mum Bolognese’ shepherd’s pie

‘Mum Bolognese’ shepherd’s pie

Meal type: ,

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

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Dinner, Lunch,

About this recipe

‘Mum Bolognese’ is my safe haven food. It restores my sense of security. It reminds me I have been loved. For me, it is attachment food. This recipe however, is what, in attachment terms, would be known as the secure base version of the dish: it is my culinary base from which to explore a world of dinner possibilities. This is me being bold with Bolognese. And it works; the filling is pretty much the original recipe for Mum Bolognese, but as it’s a shepherd’s pie I’ve used half minced lamb. The accompanying minty mash topping is therefore fitting, and is both sprightly and comforting. Most importantly, the dish has my mum’s seal of approval.


For the mash:

  • 4 medium sized potatoes (about 800g)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint

For the ‘Mum Bolognese’ filling:

  • 1 x 227g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 200g minced lamb
  • 200g minced pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon tomato puree
  • 2 dried bay leaves

This recipe makes 3 x 300ml individual roasting tins or it’ll stretch to serving 4 if you use a dish measuring approximately 27cm x 22cm x 5cm

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Start with the mash: peel and cut the potatoes into large, uniform sized chunks. Put them in a saucepan and add cold water to cover. Add the fine sea salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and cover with a lid. Leave to boil for approximately 10 minutes, or until you can easily insert a knife through the potato chunk.
  2. Drain the potatoes well. Let them sit in a colander over the saucepan to steam-dry while you cook the filling.
  3. To begin the Bolognese filling, blitz the tomatoes until smooth, using a stick blender or a food processor.
  4. Heat the olive oil in wide-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onions soften and are a pale golden colour.
  5. Crumble in the minced lamb and pork with your hands and fry the meat over medium-high heat until brown. If the meat turns grey, it’s an indication that either the pan is too cold or it’s too crowded. Keep the mince on the move, and stir it continuously and fairly briskly to stop it forming little lumps (use a fork if necessary to break it up).
  6. When the mince has browned, stir in the salt, pepper and dried mint. Then add the blitzed tomatoes and the puree and stir until they are evenly dispersed. Pop in the bay leaves.
  7. Turn up the heat, bring the mixture to the boil and let it bubble vigorously for 2 minutes. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a further 10 minutes. Switch off the heat. Leave the sauce now while you return to the mash.
  8. Mash the potatoes, using a potato masher or by passing them through a ricer or a sieve. Try not to overwork the potatoes otherwise they will become gluey in texture. Add the dried mint then beat the olive oil into the potato to create a soft mash. Check the seasoning – you might need to add a little salt.
  9. Put the mince into your dish(es) of choice then spread the mash on top. Run a fork up and down to create tramlines in the mash, which will give you lovely crispiness. Place on a tray and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned and the tomatoey mince bubbles through at the edges of the pie.

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