Cook Delia Smith’s Shepherd’s pie in just 40 minutes with ‘sensational’ recipe

While it’s known for its meaty lamb and vegetable filling, the best part of a homemade shepherd’s pie is the smooth yet crispy potato topping.

And those looking to perfect the recipe at home should look no further than chef Delia Smith’s quick and easy formula.

Her take on this warming British classic comprises just a few cheap ingredients and it’s ready in just 40 minutes.

Sharing the recipe on her website, the esteemed chef branded the dish “nothing short of sensational”.

She added that it’s perfect for people with little time to spare for cooking from scratch.

READ MORE: Chef’s recipe is ‘the only’ method to make crispy roast potatoes


  • 400g minced lamb
  • One large onion, peeled, quartered, and chopped (or four tablespoons of frozen diced onions)
  • 175g ready-prepared diced mixed carrot and swede
  • One dessert spoon of olive oil
  • One teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

For the topping

  • 16 discs of Aunt Bessie’s Homestyle frozen mashed potato
  • Two medium leeks, trimmed (use the white parts only)
  • Three heaped tablespoons of grated mature Cheddar

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How to make shepherd’s pie

Preheat the oven to gas mark six, 200C, then warm the oil in a large frying pan till very hot. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and swede and cook them for about five minutes, keeping the heat high, to colour the vegetables at the edges.

Stir the contents of the pan for a few minutes before adding the minced lamb, thyme, cinnamon, and some seasoning, then transfer the whole lot to an 18cm square baking dish (or similar).

Next, arrange the potato discs on top, slightly overlapping each one.

Delia noted that the leeks should be cut vertically to halfway down and fanned out under cold, running water to remove any dirt, then sliced through to the bottom, then across very finely.

Sprinkle the leeks all over the potato and follow with the grated cheddar.

Put the dish into the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is crusty and golden.

Let it settle for about 10 minutes before serving with a side of greens for a complete meal.

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