Friday, 29 January 2010

spice up your life: keema shepherd's pie, a twist on an old classic

I hope I'm not tempting a flurry of emails here, but I've yet to come across someone who doesn't like shepherd's pie and/or its sibling, cottage pie.

It's the stuff that my (and I suspect, many others') childhood was made of - a warming, comforting fest of rich minced lamb, covered in a blanket of crispy-baked mashed potato. If there was ever a perennial family favourite, then shepherd's pie - along with the Sunday roast - is surely it.

The love affair, for me, continues to this day. Though I rarely cook it myself, I still get ridiculously excited if someone cooks it for me (any offers, please feel free to email me...). There's something about those lamby wafts that gets me just... there... every time. And, of course, the prospect of those crunchy, 'umamied' bits of potato... y'know, the bits that everyone scrapes the dish for and fights over. Yep, those, too. In fact, there's not a single aspect of shepherd's pie that doesn't appeal to me.

A week or so ago, somewhere out of left field, I had a thought. I'd been thinking of actually making a shepherd's pie myself for once, when I had a sudden urge (settle down at the back there) for some spice. So maybe I'd make some keema instead.

Oh, HANG ON....

(see where this is going yet? OK, so the title of this post rather gives it away, but go with it...)

And so the idea of a keema shepherd's pie was born. Since I get excited about keema almost to the same extent as I get excited about shepherd's pie, you can probably picture the scene. Yes, it's fair to say I was, well, excited.

So - to the recipe books. And most of all, to the (or my) goddess of reference on all things Indian cookery, Madhur Jaffrey. (I really don't know as much about Indian cooking as I feel I should, after all my years of eating it, so if anyone has other recommendations for great Indian recipe-book authors, please let me know.) I have a few recipes of hers that are personal favourites, including - thankfully - one for keema matar (lamb mince with peas), and another for zeera aloo (spicy potatoes). Both of them come from her 'Simple Indian Cookery' book.

I realise that there are probably about as many different versions of keema matar and zeera aloo as I have had hot dinners, so I won't trot out Jaffrey's here unless you specifically ask me to (leave a comment, and I'll get back to you). Choose whichever versions take your fancy, and then put them together as you would a shepherd's pie - first, a make a layer of lovely, juicy, spicy meat in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, and then pile your spicy potatoes on top so as to completely cover the meat.

Whack the whole lot in the oven at around 180C for 30 mins to heat through properly, and for the potatoes to become irresistibly browned and crispy on top.

At that point, resistance will be futile. Get it out of the oven...

keema shepherd's pie 1


... press your nose up against the glass to have a closer look...

keema shepherd's pie 2


... and then get stuck right in without further delay!

keema shepherd's pie 3


Will you ever make 'traditional' shepherd's pie again?

37 comments:

BribedwithFood said...

Nope.
I'm making this one.
It might even make me forget that chocolate episode...

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i need to make this - looks wintry and filling

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

BribedwithFood - all that meaty, spicy loveliness will certainly help banish thoughts of chocolate

Kiwi - yep, I agree with 'need' ;-)

Nora said...

YUM! That looks just scrumptious. Just the sort of thing to give fusion cuisine a good name!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Looks and sounds fantastic - I'm always game to curry something!

Jenny said...

Shepherd's pie was about the only thing my mother could cook when I was young. I was going to make a shepherd's pie tomorrow night, but as that is traditionally curry night, it seems a good idea to combine the two!

scandilicious said...

Wow, this looks great! I love lamb, I love potatoes, I love spice. Gotta be tried I reckon :) Thanks for sharing the recipe

Foodycat said...

Oh my. This is fusion cooking done well! That sounds just perfect.

LexEat! said...

You had me at the post's title!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Nora - yep, one of the better fusions, I think...

Sarah - me, too - which is, of course, exactly how this came about

Jenny - DO IT - you won't regret it

scandilicios - you're welcome ;)

Foodycat - it is perfect ;)

LexEat - heh!

Manggy said...

I think not! Though I may have to delay that promise, as I've never had a shepherd's pie before either. Guilty! (Excuse: I live in Southeast Asia. Ha ha ha.) I should probably get on that...

Thanks, too, for the Spice Girls reference... :P

Bellini Valli said...

Resistance is futile:D

Su-Lin said...

This sounds gorgeous! Always thought it could do with some spicing up!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Mark - a-ha! One of these days, you'll have to try... Shepherd's pie is such a classic British thing

Val - you said it. It was ;)

Su-Lin - and you were right!

Jonathan said...

Looks delicious. And very similar to my Sherpa's Pie - http://aroundbritainwithapaunch.blogspot.com/2009/11/sherpas-pie.html

Great minds.

Nice.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Browners - your Sherpa's pie looks awesome. Don't know how I missed it when you first posted it. Not entirely sure about the mashed potato, though... I really liked Jaffrey's spicy potatoes in this context - worked really well.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

That looks lovely........

Sam said...

I love a good shepherds pie though it's been a long time since I last had one. I love the keema twist, it looks good and sounds fantastic!

Heather said...

I still prefer a nice mash, but I wouldn't kick this out of bed.

My mom's shepherd's pie had a tomato sauce and cheddar cheese on top. /shudder

Browners said...

The mash worked well actually. Especially with a good lug of turmeric in it. Very rich though!

James B said...

That is brilliant. Just brilliant. What a great idea for Shepards Pie.

spiltwine said...

sounds so good! might make it soon too :-)

Helen said...

Ooh lovely. A girl always needs a bit of spice in her life. I am living those crispy potatoes on top. I'm not a huge mashed potato fan - freakish, I know. Much prefer some lovely crispy bits.

Juno said...

What a fabulous idea. Can't wait to try it.

D said...

This looks incredibly tasty. (nice photography, too) Would love both recipes, please, if possible. Just checked and my library doesn't have that book. Too bad I didn't discover this sooner -- would have been perfect warmer meal in midst of so much snow. Am tired of the pot roast!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

D - send me an email and I'll send across the recipes. For some reason, I can't access your blogger profile to get your contact details

Kavey said...

I have made keema sheperds pie too. And once I made a sort of lasagne type version, just adding some Indian spicing into the ragu element. Mmm!

James said...

Hey that's a nice take on it!

Spice Rack said...

Looks oily but the taste is really amazing. It really make my taste buds ask for more even if it's already heavy on my stomach. Herbs and spices from the spice rack are the one who controls the richness of the flavor.

Chef Basket said...

Thanks for this post about keema's shepherd's pie. It looks wonderful!

Angry birds clone said...

Nice post. Great blog. Thanks for sharing.
airbnb clone| Fiverr clone script| Yelp Clone Script|

price per head service said...

Thank you! I didn't know they picked up on it until I saw your comment.

HawkEye said...

This is my Best of fortune that I discovered your publish which is according to my look for and topic.
tubal reversals

HawkEye said...

An act of goodness is a smart financial commitment.
tubal reversal

HawkEye said...

Slow but stable victories the competition.
tubal reversal surgery

HawksEye said...

I appreciate the valuable details you provide in your material very awesome.
web hosting

HawksEye said...

No one can be a friend if you know not whether to believe in or doubtfulness him.
bicicletas