I’ve made countless variations of shepherd’s pie but they all began with this, the first dish I ever made in the kitchen of my basement flat. Serve with a green vegetable or a simple green salad.
Peel the potatoes and steam or boil until cooked. Meanwhile, peel the onions and chop up fairly small. Heat
Add the remaining oil to the empty frying pan and set over a fairly high heat. Add the minced meat with the cumin seeds, ground cinnamon, a generous sprinkling of salt and plenty of black pepper. As the meat browns, dig at it with a wooden spoon to separate it.
When the minced meat is well separated and browned, add the fried onions and the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Transfer to a large, fairly shallow ovenproof dish and spread level.
Now mash the potatoes. Beat the eggs in a bowl using a fork and add them to the mashed potatoes with the grated Cheddar and a good sprinkling of pepper. Mix together thoroughly and then add a little milk to make the mash a little less firm than usual. Spoon evenly over the meat and sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan. Cook in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour until the mash topping is golden brown.
© 2010 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.