Often confused with Cottage Pie, Merriam-Webster literally defines Shepherd’s Pie as “a meat pie with a mashed potato crust”. During the past century, Shepherd’s Pie has been far more commonly associated with lamb, however, although both names have been used interchangeably since the late 1700s, with the term ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ not having been introduced until over 60 years later. At The Mariners in Rock, Cornwall, chef Paul Ainsworth uses world-class lamb from local Philip Warren Butchers in his Shepherd’s Pie recipe, cooked for around five hours.
Born in Southampton, Paul Ainsworth is also behind Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No6, Italian-leaning Caffè Rojano, and Padstow Townhouse, all located in Padstow, Cornwall. Three years after becoming Head Chef at No6. Paul and his wife Emma took over the business in 2009, earning a Michelin star four years later. The restaurant has since become synonymous with high-quality ingredients served simply, while incorporating playful twists. The chef also runs Mahé Chef’s Table and Development Kitchen, Paul Ainsworth Truro and Penwith College Academy, and The Mariners Public House. Re-launched in May 2019, the local pub overlooks Cornwall’s Camel Estuary, serving a menu focused on British classics while priding itself on championing the best local produce.
On his Shepherd’s Pie recipe, chef Paul Ainsworth says: “This is the ultimate showstopper shepherd’s pie recipe from our pub, The Mariners in Rock. We have world-class lamb and hogget down in Cornwall, and we get all of ours from Philip Warren Butchers. It will take some time to cook, but the results are more than worth it. I like to serve alongside a mint salsa verde which cuts through the richness of the pie really nicely.”
- 2 shoulders of lamb boned and rolled (roughly 2.5kg each)
- 500 g smoked streaky bacon diced
- 3 large onions Roughly diced
- 6 large sticks of celery Roughly diced
- 7 large carrots Roughly diced
- 6 large beef tomatoes
- 4 kg lamb stock
- 1 head of garlic Halved
- 1 bunch of rosemary
- 1 bunch of thyme
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 2.5 kg tomatoes chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 800 g Creamy mash potato made with plenty of butter
- Preheat oven to 110C.
- Sear the lamb in a pan until it has a nice and even golden colour all around.
- Add in one onion, two carrots and one stick of celery alongside the garlic, rosemary and thyme.
- Transfer to an oven proof dish, cover the lamb shoulder and vegetables with stock.
- Tightly wrap in tinfoil and cook until tender and soft, should take about 5 hours. (Can be done overnight).
- Bring a pan of water up to boil. Cut the core out of the beef tomatoes, cross the bottom. Plunge into boiling water for ten seconds then into ice water and peel the skin.
- Get a wide heavy based pan onto high heat, once hot add a tablespoon of vegetable oil, add bacon and roast quite heavily, then once roasted turn the heat down to medium, add onions let them cook for a couple of minutes then add in celery and carrot.
- After two minutes add in tomato puree, let cook for three minutes, always stirring.
- Then add in red wine ½ a bottle at a time.
- Once reduced, add in chopped tomatoes then reduce down by half.
- Now the meat is cooked, take the lamb shoulders out of the liquor, and pass the liquid through a strainer and pour into the pan.
- Reduce by half until nice and thick and can coat the meat.
- Meanwhile peel the tomatoes, deseed them, cut into four, then cut each ‘petal’ into rough dice. Mix into the lamb shoulder mix.
- To assemble:
- – Preheat oven to 180C.
- – Place the lamb shepherd’s pie mix in an oven proof deep dish, spoon mash on top, rough up edges with fork to create spikes.
- – Bake for ten to fifteen minutes until bubbling and mash starting to colour.
- – Now grate over generous amount of 1 year old Davidstow Cheddar and 36-month aged parmesan.
- – Place back in oven for a further 15-20 minutes until cheese is nice and crispy.
This article was updated on Monday 22nd February, 2021.