This hearty shepherd's pie is serious comfort food. You can make
and assemble the pie several hours before baking it, making it the
perfect do-ahead dish. Serve it with a piquant tomato relish for
90 mlolive oil2 eachonions, carrots and celery stalks, finely chopped2garlic cloves, finely chopped1.5 kglamb neck, finely diced300 mlstout750 ml (3 cups)beef stock60 ml (¼ cup)tomato purée60 ml (¼ cup)Worcestershire sauce1½ tbsphot English mustard1½ tbspthyme2fresh bay leaves75 gm (½ cup)plain flour1egg, lightly beaten, for eggwashPotato crust1.2 kgfloury potatoes, such as Sebago, coarsely chopped200 mlpouring cream60 gmbutter, coarsely chopped, plus extra, melted, to serve1 tbsphot English mustard
Heat 30ml oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, add vegetables and garlic and stir occasionally until very tender (8-10 minutes).
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add lamb in batches and stir occasionally until browned (2-3 minutes). Add to vegetables with stout and cook until reduced by half (2-3 minutes). Add stock, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and herbs, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until meat is very tender (45 minutes-1 hour).
Combine flour and 120ml cold water in a bowl and mix to a smooth paste, gradually add to lamb mixture, stirring until slightly thickened (2-3 minutes). Season to taste, then transfer to a 1.6-litre ovenproof dish, filling to 1cm below rim, and set aside.
Meanwhile, for potato crust, preheat oven to 180C. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover completely with cold water, bring to the boil over high heat and cook until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain, return to pan and mash with a fork. Bring cream and butter to the simmer in a small saucepan, add to potato, mash until very smooth, stir in mustard and season to taste. Pile on top of lamb mixture, ensuring it’s completely covered, brush with eggwash then bake until and golden (15-20 minutes). Serve hot with mushy peas.