This recipe came to me from Jean-Jacques De Bruin many moons ago. Since then whenever there is any leftover lamb, or in this case goat, from a roast, it is my first choice of dish to make with the meat. In fact it is that tasty that I have been know to deliberately buy a joint bigger than needed so that I can make this dish a couple of days later.
This pie differs from the Anglo version in that the moisture is provided by a copious amount of onions with no added liquid. A sauce is served on the side and is made more piquant by the addition of capers.
FRENCH STYLE SHEPHERDS PIE
Cooked lamb or goat – cut into small cubes
An volume roughly equal to the meat of onions cut small
lamb fat or dripping or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mashed potatoes to match the volume of meat and onions
Grated cheese for topping the potatoes
Having cut the onions, melt some fat in a shallow pan. If you have tasty lamb fat left from the roast, use this otherwise use dripping or olive oil.
Slowly fry the onions until starting to change colour to a light brown.
Add the meat cubes and stir to mix well. Season well.
Continue cooking until the meat is hot.
Put the meat and onions in the base of a shallow ovenproof dish.
Top with the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Put in a hot oven – 180 Centigrade – for half an hour or so until golden brown on top.
Meanwhile make the sauce. If I have gravy left from the roast, I start with this and add half a teaspoon of chopped capers per person. Reheat the gravy and capers, then add cream to enrich the sauce and add extra volume.
If you don’t have gravy, then you can make a classic caper sauce. I will warn you that this involves what seems a large amount of butter, but then it is so rich that you don’t need too much on your pie.
CAPER SAUCE – enough for about 4 people
1 Egg yolk
1 tablespoon vinegar from the capers
1 tablespoon water
100 grams butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons chopped capers
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Find a bowl that can fit into a saucepan without touching the bottom. Put boiling water in the pan to a level where the bowl sits into it by about a centimetre. Put onto a low heat.
Add the egg yolk, vinegar and water. Whisk to mix.
Cut the butter into small cubes. Add a cube to the egg yolk mix and a stir with the whisk until it is dissolved. Continue adding the butter a cube at a time and stirring until it is dissolved before adding the next.
Season with salt and pepper and add the capers. Keep stirring.
The sauce is ready when it is thick and glossy and warm.
Take the bowl out of the hot water with a tea towel and dry it underneath.
Pour the sauce into a warm sauce boat and serve with the Shepherds Pie.