In this version of a long-time family favourite, the minced lamb filling contains plenty of vegetables and red lentils, giving a rich flavour and texture. A generous serving of peas will make the meal even more nutritious.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
500 g lean minced lamb
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
350 ml reduced-salt lamb or beef stock
100 g split red lentils
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
parsley sprigs to garnish
Potato and parsnip topping
500 g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
500 g parsnips, cut into chunks
70 ml low-fat milk
30 g reduced-salt margarine
pepper to taste
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Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the lamb and cook over a high heat, stirring well with a wooden spoon to break up the meat, for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Push the meat to one side of the pan and add the onion. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned.
Add the carrots, celery and leeks and stir well, then add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, stock and lentils. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Partially cover with a lid, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the meat mixture is cooking, preheat the oven to 200ºC and prepare the topping. Place the potato and parsnip chunks in a saucepan and pour over boiling water to cover by 5 cm. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 15–20 minutes or until the potatoes and parsnips are very tender. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until hot.
Drain the potatoes and parsnips well, and return them to the pan. Pour the hot milk over them, then mash them until they are completely smooth. Beat in the margarine and add pepper.
Remove the meat mixture from the heat, add the chopped parsley and stir well. Spoon into a large ovenproof dish, about 2.5 litre capacity. Top with the mashed vegetables, spreading in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned. Serve hot, garnished with parsley sprigs.
For a special occasion, you can replace the lamb with lean minced venison. Omit the leeks and stir 250 g fresh or frozen peas into the meat mixture after it has simmered for 15 minutes. In the topping, you can replace the parsnips with celeriac.
This well-balanced dish of lean meat, vegetables and pulses provides plenty of soluble fibre, mainly from the lentils but also from the parsnips, carrots and leeks. Soluble fibre controls levels of cholesterol and sugar in the blood. * Carrots provide vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. Cooking carrots makes it easier for the body to absorb and use the beta carotene.