, Gloucester, MA


April 27, 2011

A new dish for Easter's lamb

Lamb, taters, vegetables join in pie

Lamb Shepherds Pie

Whether braised or roasted, the Easter leg of lamb that made such an impressive centerpiece at Sunday's meal may have provided you with more leftovers than you think you can manage. One great way to turn this leftover lamb, and any leftover vegetables too, into a completely new dinner for the next night is to assemble the leftovers into a shepherd's pie.

Shepherd's pie in its original form was known as cottage pie. Cottages are humble abodes, and cottage pie has its origins as a meal for humble cottage dwellers, a peasant-style casserole invented to eke out meals from every last bit of a leftover roast of beef or lamb. In later years, the casseroles using lamb took to being named for the men who tended the sheep, while Cottage Pie referred to dishes made with beef.

Today, cottage pie as a name has all but disappeared from common use, and most dishes made with ground meat mixed with vegetables and topped with a mashed potato crust are known as shepherd's pies. One thing hasn't changed, though: a shepherd's pie is a fabulous way to use up your leftovers.

Here, in this recipe from Amesbury's Jane Ward, the leftovers from a braised leg of lamb are roughly chopped and combined with the meat's braising sauce and the meal's leftover root vegetables to form the base of the casserole. Smashed or crushed new potatoes have a lot of body, and when spread on top of the lamb make a hearty "crust" that will stand up to a quick bake in the oven. If you roasted your lamb, the meat can be more finely chopped, but is just as easily put through a meat grinder if you have one.

Lamb Shepherd's Pie with Smashed Potato Crust

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