Who doesn’t love a Shepherd’s pie? If you’ve exhausted the classic version, try this Moroccan Shepherd’s pie recipe, which takes its inspiration from all of the amazing flavours of the Middle East. Packed with delicious spices like cumin, coriander and cinnamon and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed sweet potato, it’s a great, hearty dinner that you can make in advance or save for leftovers the next day.
- 500g minced lamb
- 1 large onion
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 2tsp paprika
- 2tsp turmeric
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 2tsp cumin seeds, crushed
- 2tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- Small pinch saffron (optional)
- Small pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Pinch of black pepper
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch fresh root ginger
- 400g tin tomatoes
- 500mls water
- Handful of dried apricots
- Large bunch coriander leaves
- For the mash:
- 800g sweet potatoes
- Knob of unsalted butter
- 2 whisked eggs (optional)
Fry the lamb mince for just a couple of minutes in a casserole dish (one that has a lid) without any added oil. You don’t want the meat to sweat, so fry in small batches, removing the browned meat to a sieve over a bowl as soon as it’s coloured. The sieve allows any excess fat or water to drain off the meat.
Finely chop the onion. Peel the carrots and dice, and finely slice the celery. Wipe the casserole dish clean and add a splash of olive oil and the onion, carrot and celery and sauté on low heat for about 10 minutes until soft. Crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger and add to the pan, along with all the spices. Saute for another minute until the spices become fragrant.
Add the meat back into the pot along with the tinned tomatoes and water. Chop the dried apricots and add to the pot. Bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for 1 hr. In this time the sauce should thicken nicely; if it’s a little watery, simmer without the lid for another 10mins. Remove from the heat then stir in the coriander leaves.
When the lamb is about half way through cooking, you can prepare the mash potato topping. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into large chunks. Drop into cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain and mash with butter and optional egg. The eggs give the potato a wonderful golden crust when baked, but can be omitted if you prefer.
Heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Carefully spread the mash potato over cooked lamb filling and fork over the top.
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the potato is golden and the filling is piping hot.
An easy alternative to the long list of spices is 4tsps of ‘Ras-el hanout’, a pre-mixed Moroccan spice blend, made up of over 20 different spices. However, check the heat of this spice if using, as it varies considerably depending on brand, and can often be too hot for younger children's tastes.