Mark Hix recipe: Goatherd's pie

Serves 4

We had this dish at the Parson's Nose in Hillsborough and very good it was, too. Not all butchers sell goat, but you can normally get it in a shop which is halal. Or, if not, you can use rabbit.

1kg coarsely-minced or finely-diced goat leg or shoulder
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, cut into small, rough ½cm dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rough ½cm dice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp chopped thyme leaves
1tbsp flour
½tbsp tomato purée
1ltr hot chicken stock
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 glasses of red wine
2 servings of firmly-mashed potato
200g parsnips, peeled, trimmed and roughly chopped

Season the goat, then heat some of the vegetable oil in a heavy-based frying pan until it is almost smoking, and cook the meat in small quantities for a few minutes, turning it with a wooden spoon as you go; drain in a colander to remove any excess fat.

Meanwhile, in a thick-bottomed saucepan, heat some more vegetable oil and gently cook the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and thyme for 2-3 minutes, stirring every so often until they have softened. Add the meat, dust it with the flour, and then add the tomato purée and continue stirring on a low heat for a few minutes.

Slowly add the red wine, Worcestershire sauce and the hot chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 hour until the liquid has thickened and the meat is tender. Remove from the heat, check the seasoning and then leave it to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the parsnips in boiling salted water for about 10-12 minutes until they are soft. Drain in a colander, then return to the pan on a low heat for a minute or so, to get rid of any excess water. Purée the parsnips in a food processor, or mash them smoothly with a potato masher; then mix them in with the mashed potato.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. To assemble the pie, just put the meat into a large serving dish, or individual dishes, and top with the potato mixture, using a piping bag or with the help of a fork. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden.

Serve with seasonal vegetables.

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