Fragrant shepherd’s pie with apricots

Shepherd’s pie lovers will love the new addition of spices and apricots in this make-ahead crowd pleaser

  • Prep:3 hrs 50 mins
  • Serves 8
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 662
  • fat 26g
  • saturates 12g
  • carbs 79g
  • sugars 28g
  • fibre 9g
  • protein 34g
  • salt 0.97g


  • 1kg minced lamb
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • finger length piece fresh root ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 550ml lamb or beef stock
  • 200g dried apricots, chopped
  • large bunch coriander, leaves only, roughly chopped
  • 2 red onions, roughly chopped
  • 1¼kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 50g butter
  • 1¼kg potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • toasted cumin seeds, to serve


  1. Brown the lamb in batches in a large, deep frying pan (there’s no need to add oil). Once each batch is browned, transfer it to a sieve and pour off the excess fat from the pan before cooking the next batch. Set aside the browned mince and wipe out the pan with some kitchen paper. Whizz the onions, ginger, garlic and spices together in a food processor until finely chopped and a little pulpy (you can add a drop of water if you need to), then tip into the same pan with the oil. Cook over a medium heat for 5-6 mins until the onion is softened and the spices become fragrant.

  2. Return the meat to the pan along with the chopped tomatoes and purée, honey and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hr, adding the apricots after 30 mins. The lamb and apricots should be tender, and the sauce thickened; if it’s a little wet still, simmer, uncovered, for another 10 mins. Remove from the heat, stir in the coriander leaves and season well.

  3. While the lamb is cooking, prepare the potato topping. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 mins until tender. Once cooked, drain well and mash with the butter, seasoning and enough milk to give you a creamy consistency.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Tip the lamb mixture into a large ovenproof dish and pile the mash roughly over. (It helps if you start from the edges and work your way towards the middle.) If you’re making ahead, cool then freeze the pie at this point, uncovered. Once frozen, cover with cling film and use within 1 month, defrosting thoroughly before reheating.

  5. Bake for 40 mins from warm, or for 1 hr from cold, until the topping is beginning to brown and the filling is hot. If you like, scatter with some toasted cumin seeds to serve.

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