Shepherd’s Pie is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. We don’t eat it often and, when we do, we change the recipe drastically and use any available ingredients we have. I’m such a rule breaker that sometimes we replace the lamb with ground beef or game and still call it Shepherd’s Pie (many call that hunter’s Pie or other such things!)
Last week we through together an awesome version; it had potatoes, lamb, goat’s cheese, onions, carrots, peas and more. If you’re a stickler for a recipe, you can see our post for a more traditional hunters pie here.
But one little change made a huge difference:
Instead of using ground lamb, we chopped it by hand.
The primary reason for chopping lamb was that we were using every last bit of scraps from a leg that we had butchered into pieces. There were small pieces left over that weren’t big enough to cook by themselves so we used every last morsel and cut it into small pieces.
The lamb was cooked in a cast-iron pan (to which we added a small bit of lard) on very high heat and added just as the lard started to shimmer (and almost smoke). We were careful not to crowd the pan and made sure the meat browned thoroughly before removing it from the heat.
The small pieces of meat added a far more interesting texture to the pie; I’m not sure I’d make it with ground meat again!
If you want to add a Shepherd’s Pie topping with more texture (and less breadcrumbs), check this out.