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A lamb and cauliflower "shepherd's pie"

This fresh take on the shepherd's pie has slowly braised lamb shoulder down below, and a creamy cauliflower "mash" up top.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs cooking
  • Serves 6
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A fresh take on shepherd's pie that's fragrant with coriander and cinnamon and capped with a creamy yet light cauliflower crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.2 kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 cinnamon quill, broken in half
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 400 gm canned tomato polpa or crushed tomatoes
Cauliflower topping
  • 1 small cauliflower (about 1kg), florets coarsely chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) pouring cream, warmed
  • 40 gm butter
  • 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan

Method

  • 1
    Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over high heat. Season lamb and cook in batches, turning occasionally, until browned (3-4 minutes). Transfer to a casserole and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and garlic to skillet, and cook, stirring, until softened (4-5 minutes). Add spices, stir until fragrant (1 minute), deglaze pan with 200ml water, scraping base of pan, then transfer to casserole with stock and polpa and season to taste. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until lamb is tender (11/4-11/2 hours). Remove lamb from sauce, cool briefly, and coarsely shred with two forks.
  • 2
    Reduce sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (20-25 minutes). Remove from heat and return lamb to casserole.
  • 3
    For cauliflower topping, cook cauliflower in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (8-10 minutes). Drain, and return to pan over medium heat until water evaporates (1 minute). Add cream and half the butter and blend with a hand-held blender until smooth. Season to taste.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 220°C. Transfer lamb mixture to a 1.5-litre baking dish, spoon over cauliflower topping, dot with remaining butter, scatter with parmesan and bake until golden and bubbling (20-30 minutes). Serve hot.