A pie to die for
RICHARD HUGHES elevates the status of the shepherd’s pie to national treasure
Richard Hughes elevates the humble shepherd’s pie to new heights
Once again the debate over what is our national dish seems to have reared its hungry head. I thought the powers that be had settled on chicken tikka masala, but it seems there’s unrest in the camp and everything from sausage and mash, the Sunday roast and, of course, fish and chips are back in the mix.
For me shepherd’s pie would have the vote every time. There’s something quintessentially English about this dish, especially as the nights begin to darken and the last of the sun becomes something of a distant memory.
It is also a dish that was a staple of many people’s childhoods. For my family, it always appeared for Monday night tea, traditionally made with the leftovers from the Sunday roast or mince from the butcher who would deliver three times a week.
We’ve poshed ours up a bit, cooking a shoulder of lamb especially to make the pie which seems a bit of an extravagance, but given that pulled pork and lamb is all the rage it’s just the next step, and topping it with cheesy mash.
A great shepherd’s pie also makes an appearance on some of the finest restaurant menus.
One of my closest friends, and an alumnus of the hotel school at City College Norwich, is Blofield lad Karl Goward, head chef at the famed Shepherd’s restaurant, a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament.
There is no prize for guessing his signature dish and it has to be the very best shepherd’s pie you will ever taste. Its regularly eaten by the lords, ladies and hoi polloi of Westminster; if that’s not a good enough reason to stake its claim as the national dish, I’m not sure what is!