Yield 4 mini shepherd’s pies
1t Caster Sugar
1lb Potatoes (well scrubbed)
1 1/4T Olive Oil
1 Small Onion (finely chopped)
1 Small Leek (finely chopped)
1 Small Carrot (finely chopped)
1 Garlic Clove (crushed)
8oz Lean Minced Lamb
1 1/4T Tomato Purée
2t Herb Oil (recipe below)
Salt and Pepper
fresh thyme leaves (to garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Cut the shallot in half and then cut into thin slices lengthways, leaving the root intact.
3. Arrange the slices on a non-stick baking sheet and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Bake for 5 minutes until lightly golden caramelized. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
4. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a pan and add a pinch of salt.
5. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
6. Drain in a colander and peel the potatoes while they are still hot.
7. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onions, leeks, carrot and garlic and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until just beginning to soften but not color.
8. Stir the minced lamb into the pan and cook for 3 – 3 minutes until browned., breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
9. Stir in the tomato purée and cook gently for another 10 minutes until completely tender. Season to taste and keep warm or reheat as needed.
10. Push the cooked peeled potatoes through a potato ricer or a sieve, using a spatula.
11. Quickly heat the milk in a pan.
12. Beat the butter into the warm mashed potato and then add enough milk to make a smooth but firm puree. Season to taste.
13. To serve, spoon than mince mixture into 2 1/2 inch ring moulds set on warmed serving plates. Carefully remove the molds.
14. Using two dessert spoons, shape the potato purée into quenelles and arrange 4 on top of each serving (or use a piping bag).
15. Top with the caramelized shallot slices and drizzle and around the herb oil. Garnish with thyme leaves.
4oz Fresh Basil Sprigs
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
1. Pick the leaves from the basil and then blanch them in a large pan of boiling water for 1 minute.
2. Drain in a sieve and then rinse under cold running water to prevent them from cooking any further.
3. Squeeze off any excess water and then tip on to kitchen paper and pat dry.
4. Place the blanched basil leaves into a food processor with the olive oil and process to a very fine purée, scraping down the sides of the container once or twice.
5. Pass the purée through the sieve set over a jug or bowl, pressing down with the back of a ladle or wooden spoon until all of the liquid has gone through the sieve.
6. Pour the herb oil into a squeezy bottle and leave to settle for at least 30 minutes to clear before using as required. Store in a cool place.