Few seemingly simple and traditional dishes have so much controversy about their names.
There are those who hold that it is shepherd’s pie when made with lamb and cottage pie when made with beef and vice versa.
Some people say it should be made with raw meat, others with cooked.
This version has more flavoursome ingredients than some recipes and tastes excellent.
450 g (1 lb) minced lamb
1 large onion, skinned and chopped
1 bay leaf
50 g (2 oz) mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
25 g (1 oz) plain wholemeal flour
300 ml (1/2 pint) lamb or beef stock
15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree
salt and pepper
700 g (1 1/2 lb) potatoes, peeled and chopped
25 g (1 oz) butter
60 ml (4 tbsp) fresh milk
50 g (2 oz) Lancashire cheese, crumbled
1. Dry fry the lamb with the onion, bay leaf, mushrooms and carrots for 8 – 10 minutes.
2. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually blend in the stock and tomato puree. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and boils.
3. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste. Spoon into a 1.7 litre (3 pint) ovenproof serving dish.
4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain well. Mash with the butter and milk and mix well. Pile on to the mince mixture and sprinkle over the cheese.
5. Bake at 200°C (400°F) mark 6 for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve hot with a green vegetable.