Shepherds pie with pickled red cabbage

Paul Merrett tops leftover roast lamb with smooth and simple mash in this pie. His tangy red cabbage side cuts through the richness of this comforting dish
By Paul Merrett
Shepherds pie with pickled red cabbage
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes plus 2hr for roasting the lamb
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the red cabbage

  • 1 small red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 275 ml malt vinegar
  • 275 g demerara sugar

For the roast lamb

  • 1 whole lamb shoulder, on the bone (about 2kg)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cube lamb stock, whisked into 300ml boiling water
  • 200 ml red wine

For the shepherds pie

  • 600 g cold, leftover roast lamb
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary, or thyme
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 swede, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 can chopped tomato purée
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 150 g peas

For the mashed potato topping

  • 800 g maris piper potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 75 ml milk
  • 40 g butter


1. For the red cabbage: make your pickled red cabbage at least one day before serving.

2. Simmer the sugar and vinegar together until it reduces by 25% and becomes glossy and thick.

3. Allow to cool until warm.

4. Place the finely sliced red cabbage in a sealable jar and cover with the sugar and vinegar mixture. The liquid should reach about ¼ of the way up the jar.

5. Turn the jar over every couple of hours, ideally for about 24 hours.

6. Drain off some of the juices before serving.

7. For the roasted lamb: preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

8. Pierce the lamb and poke in slivers of garlic and rosemary until you have about 20 of each dotted all over the joint. Place the lamb into the oven for 10 mins.

9. Reduce the temperature to 140C/120C fan/gas 1 and pour over the red wine and the stock.

10. Cook for at least 2 hours, spooning stock back over the joint every 30 minutes.

11. Leave to cool.

12. For the shepherds pie: take the cooled lamb and dice into 1cm chunks.

13. Fry the onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme in hot oil to brown slightly.

14. Add in the diced carrots, swede and parsnips and fry for 5 minutes.

15. Next add the Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer.

16. Add the lamb and cook uncovered for about an hour.

17. Add peas and transfer to a casserole dish. Leave to cool slightly.

18. For the mashed potato topping: boil potatoes in salted water, drain well and mash. Stir in the butter and the milk over a gentle heat. Season well with salt and pepper.

19. Spread the mash over the pie filling, and run a fork over to create small peaks. This will help the top crisp up in the oven.

20. Place the finished pie in the oven for 40 minutes at 180C/160C fan/gas 5.

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