Shepherd's pie with cauliflower and blue cheese topping
Merguez are spicy sausages from North Africa. They give this cheesy, comforting pie extra texture and a great depth of flavour.
For the peas and mint
- 400g/14oz fresh or frozen peas
- 75g/2¾oz unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
Preheat the oven to 190C/180C Fan/Gas 5. Put the mince in a roasting tray and roast for 20–25 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, put the sausages on a baking tray and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until cooked through. Leave to cool, then cut into chunks, cover and refrigerate until needed. Switch off the oven.
Pour the oil in a saucepan and place over a low heat. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until soft. Stir in the curry powder, cracked black pepper, cinnamon and fennel seeds and cook for 2–3 minutes. Mix in the celery and crispy mince.
Pour in the stock and Worcestershire sauce and season with salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, lid on, for 1–1½ hours, or until you have a lovely thick stew – make sure it doesn’t boil dry. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, reheat the oven to 190C/180C Fan/Gas 5.
Put the cauliflower florets in a microwave-proof bowl. Add the butter and cream, cover tightly with cling film and pierce. Microwave on a full heat for 6 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir. Replace the cling film, return to the microwave and cook on full for a further 4 minutes, until soft. Alternatively cook to cauliflower in a large saucepan pf boiling, salted water.
Tip the cauliflower into a food processor, season with salt and pepper and blend to a purée. Add the blue cheese and blend until it is incorporated.
Stir the sausages into the stew, then spoon it into a shallow ovenproof dish. Spread the cauliflower purée over the stew. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the lamb is hot and the purée starts to brown.
Meanwhile for the peas, cook the peas in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, drain and mash with the butter and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving add the mint. Seve the shepherd's pie with the peas alongside.