Nigel Slater’s Leek, Mushroom and Tarragon Shepherds Pie

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.


Serves 4

  • 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.



4 thoughts on “Nigel Slater’s Leek, Mushroom and Tarragon Shepherds Pie

  1. Pingback: Chorizo & red peppers | Vertical Eating

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