Lamb shank shepherds pie with goats cheese

Paul Bloxham rings the changes with his innovation on shepherd's pie - a meal to savour
By Paul Bloxham
Lamb shank shepherds pie with goats cheese
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For braising the lamb

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 large lamb shanks
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunches thyme
  • 1 bunches rosemary
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 350 ml veal stock
  • hot water, to cover

For the potatoes

  • 6 large floury potatoes, preferably red-skinned
  • 100 ml milk
  • 150 g goats' cheese
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 swede, diced

For thickening the sauce

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

To finish

  • 150 g Provencal green olives, pitted
  • 500 g spinach leaves
  • 100 g parmesan
  • 100 ml crème fraîche
  • dashes of olive oil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat the oil in a casserole pan set over a high heat. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and brown over a moderately high heat.

2. Add the onions and herbs and cook for a minute, before adding the wine, stock and enough water to barely cover. Bring to boiling point, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braise for 2 hours, until the meat is tender. Cool the lamb in the liquid, and separate from the liquor. This can be done ahead of time.

3. Peel and quarter the potatoes before cooking in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, and pass the potatoes through a ricer into a bowl. Stir in the milk, goats' cheese and seasoning; keep warm.

4. Tip the diced carrots and swede into a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain the vegetables, refresh in cold water and set aside

5. Skim any fat from the cooking liquor in which you cooked the lamb shanks. Bring the liquid to the boil.

6. Combine the flour and softened butter into a paste and whisk into the liquid - it's best to do this gradually. Return the gravy to a boil before turning down the heat.

7. Separate the lamb meat from the bones and divide into bite-size pieces. Stir the meat into the sauce and add the olives. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

8. In a separate pan, heat a deep dry saucepan and wilt the washed, and still damp, spinach leaves for 3-4 minutes. Drain away any excess liquid and stir in the Parmesan cheese and crème fraîche.

9. To assemble; spoon the lamb mixture into a an individual or family-sized oval gratin dish. Scatter the carrots and swede over the meat, and top with a layer of spinach.

10. Cover the spinach with the cheese-flavoured mashed potatoes, spreading evenly to edges. Brush with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

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