A pie to die for

RICHARD HUGHES el­e­vates the sta­tus of the shep­herd’s pie to na­tional trea­sure

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

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!

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