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Colonial Shepherd's Pie
from the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John

To prepare the stew:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds lean boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1/2 pound turnips, washed and diced
1/2 pound carrots,washed and diced
3 celery stalks. trimmed and sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
1/3 cup tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare the potato topping:

2 pounds white or red boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the lamb and brown
on all sides. Do not to crowd the pan. If necessary do this in batches. With
a slotted spoon, remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. Add the onion,
turnips, carrots, and celery to the pan, and saute for 3 minutes, stirring
frequently, or until the onions are translucent. Return the lamb to the pan along
with the thyme, and sprinkle the flour over the lamb and vegetables. Cook over low
heat for 3 minutes, continuously stirring, to cook the flour. Add the cold stock;
raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Stir in the tomato paste, and
season with salt and pepper. Cook the lamb mixture covered over low heat for 50
minutes, or until the lamb is tender.

While the lamb is cooking, place the potatoes in salted cold water and bring to a
boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and
then using an electric mixer, mash the potatoes with the butter, egg yolk, cream,
salt and pepper. Place the mixture in a pastry sleeve fitted with a large star tip.
Preheat the oven broiler. Place the lamb into a large baking dish or individual dishes,
and pipe the potatoes into a latticework pattern on the top. Place 6 inches from the
broiler element, and brown the potatoes. Serve immediately.


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