This is the best Shepherds Pie you will ever eat! And it has all the flavours of a good Sunday Roast and the bonus is it comes with its own natural stock and gravy built-in 📷 Serve with crispy roasted potatoes, broccoli and cheese sauce and you are in 7 th heaven! Remember I said Mutton, not Lamb. However this may be made with lamb but you won’t get the same results.
You may use any stewing mutton or small chops that have enough fat on them but save your bigger cuts and chops for slow braising and roasting 😉
Mutton must cook very slow and will take around 6 – 8 hours to cook. Sometimes I even go slower and take up to 10 hours to cook mine. The lower the temperature the better and the more concentrated the flavour becomes. I promise you.. It is well worth it! 📷 This is best done overnight and when your wake up, before going to work, you can just switch off and when you come home your meat is ready and you can start putting dinner together. Mutton has a lot of fat especially the smaller cuts, so it can look after itself as long as you get to know your temperature and the amount of water to add, so that it releases its own fats, stocks and flavours and you will have more than enough fat to roast your potatoes. Once your water has evaporated the meat should just slip right off the bones without leaving a trace of meat clinging to them . You may now remove all the bones, discarding them. Once this is done you will hear the meat sizzling whilst it is browning in its own fats and stock. When browned. Remove your meat with a spatula whilst draining off the juices back into the pan and set meat aside, covered. You may cook your mutton from frozen. In this case, just add 1 cup (250 ml) water. No more. There is extra water that will be released from the frozen meat as it cooks.
First thing on rising, early morning or evening. Begin cooking your mutton by placing it together with 1 cup water and some salt to taste, into a heavy bottomed saucepan or wok with self-regulating temperature which is best for this purpose. You may use a slow cooker but I can’t guarantee what is going to happen to your crock pot or glass when you start browning and sizzling the meats in their own stocks and fats. It will brown if you can get the fat sizzling but that’s your risk 😉 If using a stove-top, place a simmer ring or your waffle metal plate / plates under your pot – especially if using gas. Cook on a very low heat, covered so that it just keeps it temperature by gently simmering or bubbling on and off. When meat comes away, clean from the bones and just slips off when gently lifted. Remove the bones and discard. When all your water has evaporated and all you are left with is your natural fats and stock, your meat will gently begin sizzling and browning in its own fats and stock. With a non-metal spatula or egg lifter, gently turn meat in their own fats and stock until browned. Remove meat, gently draining fats and stock back into pan whilst doing so and set meat aside, covered. Whilst fats and stocks are still hot, pour it into a suitable container without lid and place into coldest part of freezer to set but if storing it for future use keep covered.
To a food processor with metal blade on. Add your roughly chopped onions and whizz to finely chop. To a saucepan or electric wok with self-regulating temperature. Add your 70 g of your mutton fat, together with your finely chopped onions and saute gently. To your food processor, add your roughly chopped carrots, whizz and dice into small cubes, as for pie mixtures – Add your diced carrots to your onions and continue gently sautéing. To your food processor add your diced cubes of cabbage, 300 g per time.. NO MORE – Or you will end up with an awful mush. Chop until diced but not as fine as you would for coleslaw. Add your diced cabbage to your carrots and onions and continue sautéing gently, until all vegetables just or almost tender. Add your cooked meat into your sautéed vegetables and with a non-metal spatula, break it all up. You will find that it will just fall apart, as easy peasy.. like corned beef from a can 😉 Remove your stored fat and stock tub from freezer and very quickly dip container into hot water. Invert (See picture) to remove its contents and slice off all your browned mutton stock. Toss it in with your vegetable mixture and meat. Break it all up, whilst gently warming through or until it is all melted and well blended through. Lastly stir in your peas, lower the heat to well below minimum and keep warm but without any bubbling or simmering. If you are using an electric 5 liter wok as I do.. Just feel the outer or underside of the wok and it must feel just hotter than warm to the touch. If you are using an oven, then use your roasting pan.
Steam your potatoes using a microwave steamer, covered or until fork tender. Heat up your milk and butter. Mash your potatoes using a potato masher or a pastry cutter. Pour in the hot milk and continue to mash, until fluffy and lump free but do not over mash or your potatoes will become sticky, gooey and gloppy. Season to taste with white pepper, salt and freshly grated nutmeg.
Place all your vegetable meat mixture onto the bottom of your oven roasting pan or 5 liter electric wok (with self-regulating temperature) and smooth out the surface. Place dollops of your mashed potato topping on top of your meat mixture and with a fork, spread it out evenly, covering the entire surface, whilst creating grooved streaks with the tins of your fork. Bake at low temperature of around 160 C if using your oven and keep topping fairly close to element to become a very light golden or just to harden the potato topping. As soon as potato topping has hardened. Remove it from the oven and melt 15 ml mutton fat or as needed. Using a pastry brush, brush melted mutton fat all over your potato topping. This will give it a good shine and help it to really crisp up. Place your pie back into the oven whilst keeping underside warm, with potato topping closer to the grill. Do not burn. Watch carefully whilst you brown and crisp up your topping until done to your liking
Microwave steam, 4 -5 minutes or until almost or just fork tender. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
To a microwave steamer add your 140 g rice with 420 g / ml water. Give it a good swirl, Seal container and microwave on high 15 minutes or until mushy and soft. Puree with stick blender (Immersion blender) or you may puree it in your food processor if you wish. Heat up your milk and gradually puree it in until you have a smooth sauce together with your 40 g butter. Once you have a nice and creamy smooth sauce, you may add in your grated cheese and continue to blending until you have a smooth and glossy cheese sauce. Adjust consistency by adding a little more hot milk, butter or cheese as you desire. Season to taste with salt and set aside to keep warm.
Your mutton fat and you should have plenty.
Together with enough potatoes to serve – I usually go on 1 and a half potatoes per person
Peel potatoes and place them in enough cold water to cover – To prevent discolouration. You may with the tins of your fork, run / scrape groves down the lengths of your potatoes if you wish to give it that grooved appearance. Remove potatoes from water and par-cook them 10 minutes in boiling water or on high in a steamer, covered or until just cooked on their outer surface. Heat up oil to around 160 – 180 C but do not allow your temperature to drop below 160 C or your potatoes will begin to suck up oil. You may test your oil by dropping a crumb of bread into it and it should gently sizzle around its edges. When oil is ready, gently add potatoes. Do not at too many at once and do NOT over-crowd your pan or your temperature will drop. Watch potatoes carefully, whilst turning them with a fork and gently pricking them at the same time to help them crisp up or until they golden brown, crisp and cooked through. When done. Remove them, drain and set aside to keep warm.