Lamb ragu. One third used here for shepherds pie, 74p + how to stay on budget for the day

Nov 26, 2014 | 2 comments


Doing lunch today for SIL (who is plastering our ceiling) and DP, using lamb mince from the freezer stash, it occurred to me that I could do something similar to the trio of recipes I did recently using beef mince.

I did a beef ragu using a 500g pack of mince and made cottage pie, lasagna and Bolognese with it. Each recipe is for 2, so 6 portions from the 500g pack.

I have made before a shepherds pie using the surplus from a roasted leg of lamb using Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe from his Meat book. Using roast meat does taste better than using mince, so if you are ever in the lucky position of having any, this is a great recipe for that.
Heavens, looking up the Amazon link it tells me that I bought it in 2005,  didn’t realise it was that long ago.

My version of this recipe is:-

Lamb Ragu to make Shepherds Pie

500g pk of lamb mince, £2.50
2 onions 10p
2 carrots, 200g, 80p/kg, 16p
garlic, 5p
tbslp tomato ketchup, Morrisons own brand, 550g/36p, 1p
2 tsps worcestershire sauce, Lea & Perrins, £2.90/220ml, 13p
Total price for the ragu £2.95

Price for the shepherds pie
one third of the ragu, 98p
500g potatoes, Morrisons, £2/2.5kg, 40p
butter, value £1/250g, 25g 10p
Total price £1.48, serves 2, so 74p per portion

I got a chilled pack of lamb mince for £2.50, reduced to £1.60,  most supermarkets seem to have it at £2.50.

Hugh adds a glass of red wine, if you have any, it would add great flavour. I added a few gravy granules.

Fry the lamb mince and drain off the surplus fat into a small dish. Use it to add flavour by using it for frying, for roast potatoes etc

Add the chopped onions and carrots and saute until they are soft. Add the garlic and other flavourings. Cook gently until everything is ready. Add a splash of water if it looks like drying out.

Meanwhile, peel and boil the potatoes for 10 minutes, then drain, add the butter and mash them well, until completely smooth.

Taste the ragu and adjust the seasoning if it needs it. Add more ketchup, some mustard, some redcurrant jelly or similar, depending on what it needs. Add enough water to make a loose mix, or some gravy granules and water.

Now divide the ragu into thirds and using one third for this recipe, place in an ovenproof dish. Top with the mashed potato and rough up the top with a fork so you get lovely crispy bits.

If you are eating it now, so everything is still hot, crisp the top under the grill and serve with some peas. If eating it later, pop into a hot oven for about 20 minutes, until the top is brown and crispy.

Lamb being what it is, this is quite a fatty dish, even with the mince drained, so a green veg goes particularly well. Peas are especially good, but you could use shredded cabbage (don’t add any butter, it would be too much with this), broccoli,  kale or spinach.


Now, obviously, if you are on a £1 a day budget, this is an expensive dish. However, it can still be done by amalgamating the budget for 2 days, and eating very cheaply for the other meals over that period.

For instance, £2 for 2 days, these examples cost out at £1.53

Day 1

Breakfast – 2 slices cinnamon toast 8p

Lunch – Hoummous and grated carrot sandwich 9p

Dinner – Shepherds Pie 74p


Day 2

Breakfast – Raisin pancakes 8p

Lunch – Olive, soft cheese and cucumber sandwich 30p

Dinner – Beetroot and feta tart 24p


Put the remaining 2 portions of ragu in the fridge or freezer, and we’ll use them over the next few days.  Definitely moussaka for one third. That will involve extra cost for an aubergine, some egg, yogort and cheese for the topping. So I will need to cost out a couple of days again to make that fit the budget.

And the last third of ragu? Not sure yet. Over pasta maybe, like the bolognese ragu?  Or how about a pastry pie, we haven’t done one of those with lamb before here. I love pies me, as you can tell by one look at me!

Or we could have it with some rice or couscous.

Frankly, any of those options sounds good to me



  1. Lesley

    Ooh, yes, chilli, that’s a good one

  2. Cumbrian

    I get the same 3 meals from a packet of mince; shepherds pie, spaghetti bollognaise and a chile-con-carne served with either rice or baked potato.

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