Middle Eastern Shepherds Pie with Parsnip Crust

A hearty dish to feed the family on a budget from Diana Henry
By Diana Henry
Middle Eastern Shepherds Pie with Parsnip Crust
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 g minced lamb
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 200 ml chicken or lamb stock
  • 1 orange, grated zest and juice
  • 40 g raisins, soaked in cold water for 1 hour and drained
  • 40 g almonds, skins removed, shredded and toasted
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée

For the parsnip crust

  • 475 g parsnips, scraped and chopped
  • 225 g potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp whipping cream or milk
  • 25 g butter


1. Heat a splash of the olive oil in a large broad casserole and brown the lamb over a medium heat. You may need to do this in batches adding more oil as you go - putting too much meat into the pan will make it sweat instead of fry. Transfer the browned lamb to a bowl.

2. In the same pan, cook the onion, celery and carrot until golden. Add the garlic and mixed spice and cook for another minute.

3. Put the lamb back into the pan with the vegetables and add the flour. Stir this around for a minute then add the stock, zest, juice, raisins, almonds and tomato puree.

4. Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. The stock should reduce so that you have a good thick mixture.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

6. For the parsnip crust: boil the potatoes and parsnips in separate pans until tender. Drain the potatoes and keep them in the saucepan in which they were cooked. Put a clean tea-towel on top and cover. Let these sit for a few minutes on a very low heat - this helps to dry out the potatoes and will give you a better mash.

7. Drain the parsnips and add them to the potatoes. Heat the butter for the mash in a large saucepan (the one in which you cooked the parsnips should be big enough). Add the potatoes and parsnips to this and mash really well, adding the cream or milk and salt and pepper as you do so.

8. Spoon the lamb into a pie dish, spread the mash on top, and bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden.

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