A fresh take on shepherd's pie that's fragrant with coriander and cinnamon and capped with a creamy yet light cauliflower crust.
- 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
- 1 small cauliflower (about 1kg), florets coarsely chopped
- 60 ml (¼ cup) pouring cream, warmed
- 40 gm butter
- 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
- 1Heat 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.
- 2Reduce sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (20-25 minutes). Remove from heat and return lamb to casserole.
- 3For 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.
- 4Preheat 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.