Arun Kapil's Shepherd's Pie

A classic dish with a twist!


  • pie filling
  • 300 g lamb shoulder or lamb neck (evenly diced 6-8mm sq skin, excess fat & sinew removed)
  • 300 g lamb breast (minced and skin, excess fat & sinew removed)
  • 100 g chicken livers (cleaned & chopped)
  • 2 tblsp rape seed oil
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 300 g spanish onions (chopped)
  • 100 g carrots (peeled & diced 5mm)
  • 100 g butternut squash (or other variety of squash, peeled & diced 8mm)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled & chopped)
  • 1 tsp ginger (grated or finely chopped)
  • 50 g tomato purée concentrate
  • 400-500 ml vegetable stock or water
  • 1.50 tsp salt to taste
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds, 1tsp ginger powder, 1tsp cumin, 1 tsp turmeric, 3 cloves ground, 1tsp ground cassia (or cinnamon)
  • 0.50 tsp sugar
  • dash best red wine vinegar (to help balance and layer-up the flavours)
  • unctuous mash for the topping or ‘mash cap’
  • 750 g maris peer/golden wonder (boiled, skin -on in plenty of sea salt)
  • 150 g unsalted butter (diced & chilled)
  • 150-200ml milk full fat milk just under boiling infused with 15-20g green saffron garam masala spices – important don’t boil


  1. Prepare all ingredients, as shown above.
  2. Take a large, thick-bottomed casserole, heat it gently, add the rape seed oil, then the mince and sauté until it’s nicely brown & caramelised.
  3. Remove the mince with a slotted spoon and put aside.
  4. Repeat with the diced lamb and when it’s done remove the meat and again put aside.
  5. Lower the heat under the casserole dish, add the chicken livers, onions, carrots, garlic, ginger and squash, stir and gently sweat for 10mins, trying to avoid browning the vegetables.
  6. Add the fresh spice and blend, stir and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Then, add the plain flour, tomato purée and, with a spatula or wooden spoon stir, gently stir, making sure it doesn’t all stick to bottom of pan.
  8. Mix all the ingredients well, add the both types of browned lamb, pour in just enough stock to cover all the ingredients, place a lid on and cook at the barest simmer for around 45mins to an hour.
  9. (NB: You may need to top up the sauce with stock or water as required.)
  10. After the hour’s cooking, the sauce or ‘ragout’ should have taken-on a lovely gloss and the liquor will be slightly thickened, unctuous and coat the back of a spoon well. If not, then reduce the mix a little more over a slightly higher heat, but don’t go too mad and dry the dish out completely!
  11. Finally allow the sauce to cool completely. It’s best left for 1 or 2 days in the fridge or you can even freeze it if you decide to make a bigger batch.
  12. Mash Method:
  13. Gently boil the potatoes with a generous handful of salt until cooked.
  14. Next, peel the potatoes and whilst still hot pass thru a potato press, ‘ricer’ or sieve, straight into a warm non-stick pan
  15. Mix in the diced, cold butter then slowly pour in the hot milk in a continuous stream until all milk is absorbed. (I find a wooden spoon is best for this.)
  16. Then, grab a whisk and beat it until smooth and light. Don’t over whisk or it will go gloopy!
  17. Correct the seasoning, as you’d like.
  18. Transfer your lamb ragout to your favourite pie dish, then immediately pipe or spoon the warm mash over it.
  19. Dot the ‘mash cap’ with small, chilled butter cubes, pop into your oven and bake at 170°c until it just starts to bubble and the juices spill up and over the sides.
  20. (Serve with autumnal greens, mashed or roast squash. Try with a grilled slice of crusty country baguette infused with butter, garlic & a sprinkling of Green Saffron’s Garam Masala to really get those taste buds tingling.)


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