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Be inspired every day with Living North
Pie, Nassima Rothacker
March 2018
Reading time 10

Think of this as having all the best elements of a classic Shepherd’s Pie, with added spice and a Sag Aloo topping

We love it.
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, very finely chopped
  • 40g fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 x 250g sachets cooked Puy lentils
  • 250g minced lamb
  • 250g frozen garden peas, defrosted
  • Fine sea salt
  • For the sag aloo top
  • 1kg red-skin potatoes, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 200ml water
  • 200g baby leaf spinach
  1. Heat a large sauté pan or shallow casserole over a high heat and, once it is hot, add the butter, cloves, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and peppercorns. Fry, stirring frequently, until the bay leaves start to crackle and there is a strong spice aroma. 
  2. Add the onions and carrot and continue to fry, tossing the pan every so often, for 5 minutes, just until the vegetables are hot – there’s really no need to cook them until they soften, provided you chopped them finely enough. 
  3. Mix in the ginger, garlic and tomato purée and fry for a further minute, just until the garlic smells strongly. 
  4. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and cook until the liquid has reduced by a third. 
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and one teaspoon of salt and put into a roasting dish. 
  6. Don’t bother to wash the pan out – use it for the topping. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. 
  7. For the sag aloo top, put the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover them with cold water and add a generous pinch of salt. 
  8. Bring to the boil, boil for 10 minutes, then drain. 
  9. Put the oil and butter into the sauté pan and set over a high heat. 
  10. Once the butter melts, add the spices and fry until the mustard seeds start to pop. 
  11. Add the potatoes and water – the water will sizzle and evaporate quickly. 
  12. Stir the potatoes in the spiced liquid, then add the spinach; turn off the heat and allow the spinach to wilt in the residual heat for a few minutes. 
  13. Pile the sag aloo on top of the lamb and lentil filling. 
  14. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until the filling is bubbling. If the potatoes start to burn before the filling is ready, cover the dish with foil.

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