This recipe for Mum’s best Shepherd’s pie is true comfort food. A firm family favourite.
This post was first published on July 5th 2015, and was updated on July 4th 2023. The recipe that follows the story is for my Mum’s best Shepherd’s pie, and….it’s an absolute winner.
Mum’s Best Shepherd’s pie
Last night, I kissed all three of our daughter’s goodnight, and around 20 minutes later, I hear one of them shout, “Daaaaaadddd”. It was coming from our youngest daughter’s bedroom. I pop into her to see if I could perhaps help. She calmly says, “No thanks, Mum”, and tells me that she really just needs Dad.
Michael enters as I am heading out the door to find him. He doesn’t seem at all puzzled as to why he has been summoned. I hover outside for a moment, and I hear her ask him quietly if he will give her a ‘tickle back’ to help get her off to sleep. “Sure thing”, he replies. No thinking music is required.
I felt something stir in me, and at first, I thought it was a concern for the fact that she couldn’t get off to sleep still on her own. Off I went to get ready for bed myself.
Just before I slid into bed, I snuck past her room once more. I saw the most lovely moment of a Dad caring for his daughter and a daughter feeling safe and loved as she was gently drifting off to sleep. It was a moment of pure love, and I hope she remembers it forever, but it is likely she may not.
A little later, Michael comes to bed, I am so close to sleep myself. Despite the beautiful scene I had witnessed, I found myself asking if he was concerned at all she was relying on him to get off to sleep. He simply replies, “I know this might be true, but I know also that there will be a day when she doesn’t want a tickle back from her Dad to get her off to sleep.” My heart popped out of my chest, and off I drifted, also feeling safe and loved and knowing with my whole being that I was laying next to one very special man.
And so, how does all of this bring me to a recipe for Shepherd’s pie, you may ask? The things we remember fondly growing up are such a special part of who we are.
Today is Sunday, and I remember so many special Sundays from my own childhood. It was a special day. And I am sure you can imagine that many of my favourite memories revolve around food and shared meals with my family. Sundays were always roast nights, and my Dad’s favourite was (and still is) a lamb roast. I have always loved a roast, but I know we would sometimes hold ourselves back a little as we knew that if there was leftovers, Mum would make the best Shepherd’s pie with the leftovers. I adored it.
Shepherd’s pie is still a food of great comfort for me, and I know it is for many of you, also. I included the recipe for Mum’s Best Shepherd’s Pie in the Relish Mama cookbook, and it still receives such lovely feedback. For me, it just goes to show that no matter how far cooking has advanced and recipes evolved, what tugs at our hearts and what we remember most are the dishes of comfort that are made with thought and love for one another.
Because it is a Sunday and we are smack in the middle of winter, I am making Mum’s Best Shepherd’s pie tonight. I will share this with my own family. For my daughters and one very special man who gives tickle backs without question and hopefully make some more memories.
I hope this lovely recipe for Shepherd’s Pie brings you lots of comfort too.
A side note but an important note – I have just added my recipe for best ever Fancy Mashed Potatoes here to the blog also so that you can top Mum’s best Shepherd’s Pie with creamy and delicious mashed potatoes.
P.S – If you would love to learn more about our food tours, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email or check out our tours page this way.
And, if you would love to learn more about our cooking club……please explore here RM Cooking Club.
Mum’s Best Shepherd’s pie
Mum's Best Shepherd's pie
- 1 Frying pan
- 1 oven proof casserole dish
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 brown onion finely diced
- 2 celery sticks finely diced
- 2 carrots finely diced
- 500 g lamb mince
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
- 100 ml dry red wine
- 400 ml beef stock
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Mashed potato to go on top
- Flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- Green salad
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin, onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onions are smelling sweet and have softened.
- Add the lamb and cook to brown. Add tomato paste and stir through.
- Add the thyme, peas, wine and beef stock. Simmer gently for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Have your mashed potato ready.
- Spoon the meat mixture into the base of an ovenproof dish.
- Top with mashed potato and smooth out evenly.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve scattered with fresh parsley and a green salad.