Taste test: Shepherd's Pie
As soon as there's a nip in the air, we all want comfort food. And there's nothing quite as comforting as shepherd's pie. We were surprised by the price of some of the versions that we tested - granted, we opted for the premium rather than budget versions. We resolved to spend a couple of hours at the weekend making some pies of our own to portion out and stick in the freezer for guaranteed autumn smugness.
Pure Kitchen, Shepherd's Pie and Root Vegetable Mash, 700g, €9.50, 9/10
This pie is gluten, dairy and sugar free, and the root vegetable as opposed to potato mash will appeal to carb-avoiders. It's made with half beef and half lamb, and there's no gloopy sauce. Pure is the new brand from chef John Mac Govern - Moggy - and this tastes as if it might have been made at home. Very good.
Morton's Shepherd's Pie, 400g, €5.95, 9/10
There's no nutritional information on this pie produced by Morton's, but the ingredient list is straightforward and contains no nasty surprises. Made with beef rather than the traditional lamb, this has a rich sauce that has plenty of Worcestershire - the flavour is excellent. One small quibble - you have to remove the pie from the container before heating it up.
Donnybrook Fair Shepherd's Pie, €7.39, 7/10
This pie uses beef rather than lamb, and the list of ingredients is wholesome - although our testers were not impressed by the inclusion of mushrooms. The flavour is good.
M&S Gastropub Shepherd's Pie, 400g, €6.20, 7/10
Rich and tasty, the M&S shepherd's pie has a deep lamb-y taste and our testers liked the earthiness that the addition of lentils brought. On offer currently - three for €14.
Tesco Finest Shepherd's Pie, 800g, €7, 6/10
There's a very long list of ingredients in this lamb-based pie. It's made in the UK and may contain lamb from either the UK or New Zealand. Fine, but nothing special.