This is the ultimate winter comfort food. I was not, and am not a huge traditional shepherds pie fan, I’m not a big fan of anything mince based unless shaped and fried into oblivion. But leek, tarragon and creme fraiche are three of my go-to ingredients (you put them in more or less anything and I will treat it with an open mind and heart) so I had to give this a whirl. This is from Nigel Slater, the king of comfort food. I added some spring onions to the mash topping mainly because I had them lying around the fridge, but I think they added a nice sharp contrast, both in texture and flavour. Everyone has their own way of doing potato mash, so I’ll leave you to your own devices on that. I’m a fan of a butter, milk, and a creme fraiche mix myself but each to their own.
- 3-4 medium sized leeks
- olive oil
- 600g mushrooms (I used chestnut and rehydrated porcini, but whatever takes your fancy)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 3 tablespoons of sherry
- 300ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 bunch of fresh tarragon
- crème fraîche 2 heaped tbsp
For the potato topping:
- floury potatoes 1kg
- Dairy addition of choice
- 1 small bunch of spring onions (optional)
- Trim and finally slice the leeks, washing away any soil from inner layers and discarding any dark green leaves.
- Saute in a large saucepan with some olive oil with the lid on for about 10 minutes over a medium heat.
- Chop the fresh mushrooms, and add to the leeks, cooking for another 5 minutes, turning up high to evaporate any liquid.
- Add the rehydrated mushrooms.
- Add the lemon juice , then the flour, and continue cooking for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the stock and cook until well reduced.
- Add the tarragon leaves whole and the creme fraiche.
- Season, remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Peel the potatoes and boil until soft in salted water, approximately 20 minutes.
- Mash with the chopped spring onions and some butter/milk/cream whatever.
- Add the leek mix to an oven proof dish.
- Top with the mashed potato.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 200C/gas mark 6 or until golden and crispy on top.