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Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Cook this slow cooker Shepherd's Pie not for its convenience but because it is bursting with great British flavoursome taste.

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Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie

INGREDIENTS                         

500g / 1lb 2oz minced lamb
2 medium carrots (approx 300g / 11oz)
2 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
1 level tablespoon of tomato concentrate
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of flour (plain or self raising)
Three shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
110ml / just under 4fl oz / ½cup of lamb or vegetable stock (two stock cubes) - very hot
Salt and pepper to taste
MASHED POTAO TOPPING
900g / 2lbs of normal boiling potatoes (e.g. Maris Piper or King Edwards)
60g / 2oz of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION TIME

: 20 minutes

COOKING TIME

: 5 hours (see Cook's Notes above)

DIFFICULTY LEVEL

: Easy

FREEZE

? Yes

SERVINGS

: 4

COOKING EQUIPMENT

: 1 slow cooker (see Cook's Notes), large frying pan, 1 oven proof serving bowl.

PPREPARATION

Peel the onions, top and tail then finely chop.
Peel the garlic top and tail then finely chop.
Cut off the top bit of the carrot, slice in half lengthwise then slice into 1cm / ½cm pieces.
At least 35 minutes before the pie mix has finished cooking (but earlier is fine) peel the potatoes, cut into halves / quarters (depending on size).


OUR VIDEO ON HOW TO COOK SLOW COOKER SHEPHERD'S PIE

COOK'S NOTES FOR SLOW COOKER SHEPHERD'S PIE

Slow cooking Shepherd's Pie can in fact all occur in the slow cooker but the mashed potato topping isn't really at its best at all when cooked in a slow cooker. First the appearance is bland and uninteresting and second the mash is very liable to start falling into the pie filling and forming a soup like dish! Shepherd's Pie cooked correctly though is superb for a slow cooker.

There are two critical aspects to the pie filling. First the carrots, chop them too thickly and they wont be cooked through, chop them too thinly and they will loose their texture. We recommend cutting the carrots into about 1cm / ½in cubes.

The second important thing to get correct is the amount of stock added. Stick to the exact amount we specify in the recipe below for your first attempt. All slow cookers differ and if your pie mixture is too thick add a small amount of hot water. If it is too thin sprinkle on a teaspoon of cornflour or normal flour and stir in well. The pie mixture needs to be moist but not runny - thick enough to support the mashed potato on top.

When you add the initial ingredients including the stock to the slow cooker the liquid content appears to be too little, but trust us, it will be fine. Once the lamb mince and the juices are added plus the liquid given off by the vegetables you will end up with a rich Shepherd's Pie filling which is exactly the correct consistency.

This is by no means a one pot slow cooker dish so why is it worth cooking shepherds pie in a slow cooker? In one word, flavour and tenderness. The slow cooking tenderises the minced lamb to perfection and the long cooking gives the filling a rich and delicious flavour. To vary the recipe, substitute other vegetables such as swede or maybe add some peas to bulk it out. Grated cheese over the mash topping before it goes under the grill gives an even richer (possibly too rich) flavour.

The filling can be cooked on high for one hour then on low ideally for 3 hours 30 minutes but up to 5 hours on low will be fine. We cooked our Shepherds Pie in a 3.3 litre Tesco slow cooker but this recipe is ideal for scaling up or down in size.

Recipe by .

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1

Turn the slow cooker to high and add the very hot stock (read cook's note above), carrots, onions, garlic, tomato concentrate, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

Stir the ingredients well then sprinkle the flour evenly over the top stirring it in with a fork or spoon. Place the lid back on the slow cooker

Vegetables in slow cooker 

STEP 2

Place a frying pan on a medium heat and add the minced lamb. There is no need to add any oil because enough fat will come from the minced lamb.

Stir and break up the minced lamb pieces constantly as it browns. This will take about 5 minutes or so.

 Lamb mince being browned

STEP 3

Now add the contents of the frying pan (meat and juices) into the slow cooker and give a quick stir.

Cook in the slow cooker on a high heat for a further hour and then turn it down to low. Cook for 3 hours 30 minutes more (max 5 hours) on low.

 Shepherds Pie filling in a slow cooker

STEP 4

At least 35 minutes before you want to serve the Shepherd's Pie place the peeled and cut potatoes into a pan of warm water and simmer for around 25 minutes until ready to mash. 

Drain the potatoes of water, add the butter and allow them to stand for five minutes. Mash well and place to one side.

 

STEP 5

At least 35 minutes before you want to serve the Shepherd's Pie place the peeled and cut potatoes into a pan of warm water and simmer for around 25 minutes until ready to mash. 

Drain the potatoes of water, add the butter and allow them to stand for five minutes. Mash well and place to one side.

 

STEP 6

When the pie filling has cooked for the recommended time, turn the slow cooker to high.

Turn the grill to medium low and heat the empty serving dish for ten minutes. Empty the contents of the slow cooker into the serving dish - it should ideally be about half full. Spread the mashed potato over the top (gently, not forcing it down) and roughly smooth with a fork.

 Sheperds pie filling in a dish

STEP 7

Place the filled serving bowl under the pre-heated grill and leave it for five minutes or so until the mash top has brown peaks. Keep a very close on it towards the last few minutes, the difference between golden tipped mash and burnt mash is only a minute or so.

Serve onto warm plates with whatever vegetables are available.

Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie served in a dish 
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Copyright 2006 - 17 David Marks. All rights reserved.