Allegra McEvedy’s shepherd’s pie

Serves: 6–8

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 celery sticks, halved lengthways and diced
2–3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
4 anchovies, chopped (optional)
750g lean lamb mince
1 tbsp tomato purée
Small glass (125ml) white wine
1 litre hot chicken stock
1 ½ tbsp Bovril (to make it meaty)
Good splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 handfuls of frozen peas, defrosted
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

For the mash topping:
1kg spuds, peeled and quartered
125ml milk
50g butter, melted

1. Heat the olive oil over a medium–high heat in a large, wide pan and fry the onions for 5–7 min, stirring regularly. Once it has started to soften, go in with the carrots and celery and fry for a few minutes until bright and shiny. Add the garlic, rosemary and anchovies, and stir for a couple more minutes until the anchovies have melted and the garlic and rosemary are fragrant.

2. Now tip all this into a bowl and get the pan good and hot again before plopping in the mince. Season the meat as it fries, and once it has all browned, take a look at the amount of fat in the pan: a little bit is fine, but if there’s lots then spoon it off or dab it up with kitchen paper.

3. Next, stir the tomato purée in well, followed by the wine. Let this reduce away, then pour in the hot stock, add the Bovril (not key but recommended), and splash in some Worcestershire sauce.

4. Give it all a good mix, bring to the boil with a lid, then turn down to a fairly busy simmer, lid still on. Give it a helpful prod every now and then, and after about 45 min whip the lid off. Stir in the veggies from earlier and let it reduce for 25–30 min or until it looks like the bottom of a shepherd’s pie should, but slightly runnier. Take off the heat, taste and season.

5. Now get your mash on: put the spuds in a pan of plenty of cold water with a bit of salt. Stick a lid on, bring to the boil then take the lid off and turn down to a busy simmer until cooked, about 10–12 min (a knife should go in without much resistance).

6. Drain and leave in the colander to steam-dry for a few minutes. Pour the milk and half the melted butter into the pan then tip the spuds back in and mash until smooth, seasoning to taste.

7. Preheat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Stir the peas and parsley into the meaty base and tip into a suitable dish (I use a big oval dish measuring about 36 x 24cm), remembering you have to fit the mash on top too.

8. Spread the mash on top, fluff up with a fork, then brush with the rest of the melted butter. Put the dish on a baking tray and bake for 30–40 min, until golden brown on top and bubbling enticingly round the edge.