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Issue 4 - Lamb Shank Shepherds Pie
lamb shank shepherds pie with parsnip mash

Lamb Shank Shepherds Pie with Parsnip Mash

Serve with plenty of green vegetables and /or crusty bread - a delicious Winter warmer.

Re-created here by the Black Swan


1. Pre-heat your oven to gas 3/160-170 degrees. In a large frying pan, brown the shanks all over until a good even rich brown colour is achieved, transfer to a deep tray big enough to occupy them and also fit into your oven.

2. To this tray add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, stock cube and enough hot water (boil the kettle a couple of times) to come ¾ of the way up the shanks, transfer the tray to the oven and cook uncovered for 3-3 ½ hrs, turning the shanks every hour or so (exposing part of the shank like this allows the natural sugars in the meat to caramelise slowly and create a better finish to the dish).

3. While your lamb is cooking put your parsnips and potato in a pan deep enough to occupy them and enough cold water to cover, season the water with salt and bring to the boil, boil for a further 10-12 minutes until a knife passes through the vegetables with ease. Drain the parsnips & potato in a large colander and mash (but wait until the steam has ceased rising from the vegetables this will help render a dryer, firmer mash rather than a wet, sloppy one). Season well with salt and pepper and put to one side, do not refrigerate or allow to cool completely or it will be very difficult to work with in the final step.

4. Once the lamb meat is falling away from the bone with ease remove the tray from the oven and carefully pour the liquor/stock from the corner of the tray into a deep pot which will fit in your fridge. Wait around 45 minutes until your stock is merely warm and then place the pot in the fridge for at least an hour or so until the fat has set solid on top of the liquor. While you are waiting for this to happen slide the meat off the shanks into individual bowls or one big one, discarding all bones and any fatty sinew from the skin. Divide the peas between the dish or dishes.

5. Return to your liquor, carefully lift the fat which should be solid (if it isn’t solid use a ladle) away from the stock, bring the stock back to the boil and reserve the fat separately. Estimate roughly how much ‘gravy’ you shall need to just cover the meat in the dish or dishes and allow the stock to reduce until that amount is rendered, while it is still boiling whisk in the gravy granules a little at a time until the stock is thickened, remove any rosemary sprigs that remain and pour the ‘gravy’ over the meat in the dish(s) until meat is just covered/not swimming! Any extra can be reserved for later.

6. Return to your mash, using two spoons divide the mash evenly over the filling(s) and rough up a little with a fork, place tiny spots of the reserved fat on top of the mash, don’t go mad you just need a tiny amount! (discard the rest or save in the fridge for up to a week as cooking fat for Yorkshire pudding’s etc)

7. When you are ready to serve the pie preheat the oven to gas 5/6 or 200-210 degrees and cook the pie in the middle of the oven for about 15-20mins until the top is golden brown and the filling is trying to burst through.


For the filling……….
4 Lamb shanks (use shoulder shanks as they are cheaper and are apt for this dish as the meat will be removed from the bone.)
2 carrots - diced
2 sticks celery - diced
1 small onion - diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 good sprigs of rosemary
2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lamb stock cube

For the topping……..
6 parsnips - peeled & roughly chopped
1 large or 2 small potatoes - peeled and roughly chopped the same size as the parsnips

To finish……..
2 small handfuls of frozen peas
Pinch of salt & pepper
2-3 tbsp gravy granules

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