Tis the Season and when entertaining I find Shepherd’s Pie & Fizz a hard party to beat. Shamelessly ‘borrowed’ from novelist, ex jail bird and Tory Chairman Jeffery Archer and his infamous Christmas Shepherd’s Pie and Krug parties.
A well loved British classic nostalgic and comforting Shepard’s pie is also very nourishing and instantly puts guests at ease. Whilst the fizz is the perfect accomapnyment to get any party started adding that little bit of Christmas sparkle.
Shepherd’s pie is loved by all ages from toddlers to grandparents and is easy to easy to make in advance. It’s also naturally gluten, and grain free and a great way to enjoy bone broth (stock).
You can serve it seated in a traditional dinner party setting (with appointed seats around a table) or it equally works well in a more relaxed or larger party setting where guests help themselves (buffet style).
Shepherd’s Pie is also delicious with a wide range of seasonal, scrumptious side dishes, some of my favourites include; honey roasted carrots, minted and garlic green beens, buttered cabbage and fennel seeds or brussels with roasted chestnuts and lardons.
If you’re not keen or don’t eat potatoes sub it for sweet potatoes or even cauliflower mash.
Fizz wise I like this party concept because it’s fun and simple and not pretentious. Mr Archer might have gone for the Krug to wow his Tory cronies but I say just have fun with it. Whatever Fizz works for you and there are usually some great offers on a range of Prosecco and Cava. A big favourite of mine is Cremant, another great French sparkling wine but not made in the Champagne region so half the price!
I love Shepherd’s pie and fizz at any time of the year and it’s also the dish my husband made when he popped the question on a warm July night…
But for now if your’e looking for something to enjoy this Christmas with friend’s give this a try. And wherever you are whatever you’re eating I wish you the happiest and healthiest Christmases and look forward to catching up in 2015!
ShepHerd’s Pie & Fizz The Ultimate Party Food
The wonderful mix of nourishing comfort and party bling.
Feeds 6 to 8
- butter from grass fed cows or extra virgin olive oil
- 900g, approx. 32 oz, free range, grass feed beef mince (ideally organic) see why it matters here
- 4 x small onions, peeled and diced (ideally organic)
- 1 x large carrot diced (ideally organic)
- 2 x garlic cloves peeled and grated or crushed
- 3 x sprigs of rosemary and thyme
- 4 x bay leaves
- 500ml, 17floz of bone broth, I used chicken stock (see how I make mine here)
- 3 x tablespoons of organic apple, cider vinegar
- 2 x tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1.5kg of organic potatoes peeled and cut into 5cm chunks
- 30g of grass fed butter
- 1/2 cup, 118ml almond milk
- 1 x heaped teaspoon of dijon mustard (for a totally dairy free option you can miss this out and your mash will still taste good if well seasoned)
- Maldon Sea Salt and Pepper
- Pre-heat your oven to 180c, gas mark 4, 350f
- Season your beef with salt and pepper and warm your butter or oil in large heavy bottomed pan
- Add your beef and gently fry to brown all over, (fry in batches if easier) then take out of the pan and set aside
- Gently fry your onions, garlic and carrot on a low heat until soft for approx. 5-10 mins
- Add your beef mince back to the pan with the stock, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme bring to the boil and then remove from the heat
- Put your potatoes in a large pan of boiling water and boil for approx. 10 mins, until you can easily prod them with a fork then drain them, add all of the butter (for a full dairy free option you can mash without) and milk a little at a time as you start to mash your potatoes, depending on how you like the consistency of your mash you may not need all of it, then stir through the mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add your meat sauce to a large oven proof dish and top with your mash potato mix. Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 35 mins.