We Love Cooking! + [worcester sauce]

:: Roast Garlic Shepherd's Pie

The funny thing about the food writing biz is that you end up preparing things way in advance of certain events and Christmas is one of the major ones which editors and researchers panic about and will have you cooking turkeys and hams even before Halloween has passed! However it was very refreshing yesterday to be shooting lots of leftover Christmas dinner recipes for RTÉ's 4Live in the middle of the Christmas season with snow on the ground outside. We thrashed through 6 great festive dishes including, cranberry and white chocolate muffins, leftover ham pies, and a Christmas cheesecake. A big thanks to the lads, Robin, Mark, Niall and Tony who left the house last night stuffed... or so they told me! I'll post some of the recipes from the day during the next weeks but for now just in case you have been suffering from Christmas overload, how about some real food?

Roast Garlic Shepherd's Pie
I was never really a big fan of shepherd's pie growing up, mainly because it was churned out most weeks (sorry mom!) so we became far too used to it, which realistically is a terribly ungrateful complaint, but it's only in the last few years I have fallen in love with this classic little dish all over again. I make mine with a twist by stirring mashed roast garlic through the potato, to be honest I normally make it with two bulbs of garlic because I'm a bit of a garlic fiend, but if you are pushed for time skip the garlic and just make the mash, it will taste just a good. Another handy tip to remember is that once you have assembled the shepherd's pie to the point just before you put it in the oven you can actually freeze the pie and cook from frozen if you fancy prepping a few in advance!

Serves 4
1 garlic bulb
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion , chopped
2-3 medium carrots , chopped
500g pack minced lamb
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
400ml beef stock
800g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
75g butter
50ml milk
Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

First things first, get the garlic in the oven! Preheat the oven to 200oC/Gas Mark 6.
Slice the top off the garlic bulb just enough so that each of the cloves is exposed and place on a roasting tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with a some sea salt. Place in the oven to roast for 40 minutes or until soft and tender. When the garlic is cooked, remove the roast cloves from their skins and mash with the back of a fork.
While garlic is roasting, add the potato chunks to a pot of cold water, cover, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork.
When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat, drain into a colander, then add back into the pot with the butter and milk. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. You may want to add a little bit more or less milk and butter, it is up to you! Add in the mashed garlic and season with sea salt and ground black pepper, stirring to combine.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat and soften the onion and carrots for 5-6 minutes. Turn up the heat and allow the pan to get hot before you add the minced lamb. Using the a fork break up the meat and allow to brown and cook through for 3-4 minutes. Stir through the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce until combined and then pour over the beef stock. Bring to a steady simmer, then partially cover and cook for 45 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 4.
When the lamb is ready, season with sea salt and ground black pepper and transfer to an ovenproof baking dish and top with the roast garlic mash, using a fork to make a nice topping. Give the topping an extra sprinkle of ground black pepper and bake in the oven for 25 mins until the top is starting to brown and the mince is bubbling up around the edges.
Serve straight away for a delicious and comforting supper!