Spicy scrag end pie

Spicy scrag end pie



Apparently, Nigella Lawson always orders this when she visits Jikoni, Ravinder Bhogal’s Indian restaurant in Marylebone, London. The recipe came from nigella.com as a guest recipe.

I’d wanted to try the dish so although I was given the neck fillet, and this calls for scrag end which is cooked on the bone. I really wanted to use it so just cooked it for a lot less time.

It’s comfort food at its best, think Shepherd’s Pie with a shredded, curried  lamb base and the creamiest, yellowest (is that a word?) mash you ever ate.

Delicious but a real labour of love on a weekday evening!



  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 kg scrag end of lamb
  • 2 red onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 sticks celery (finely chopped)
  • 8 green cardamom pods (bruised)
  • 1 black cardamon pod (bruised)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 200 grams tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • Thumb of fresh ginger (finely grated)
  • 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • 200 grams frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper



  • 40 ml whole milk
  • 40 ml double cream
  • 1 small onion studded with 4 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove of garlic (bruised)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  • 750g floury potatoes
  • 75g butter
  • 2 egg yolks

Serves: 6


Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, add the scrags and brown well, then set aside.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and fry, stirring regularly, until they are soft and golden brown.

Add the cardamom pods, cumin seeds and cinnamon and fry for a few minutes until they’re beautifully fragrant.

Pour in the tomatoes and the tomato puree, then add the garlic, ginger and chillies.

Season with salt and pepper, then bring to the boil and let it bubble away for 8 minutes. Return the lamb to the pan and pour in enough water to cover.

Put on the lid and leave to cook over very low heat, stirring every so often, for about 3 hours or until the meat is falling off the bones.

For the topping, put the milk and cream into a small saucepan and pop in the clove-studded onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic, turmeric and paprika. Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat and leave to infuse while you get on with the potatoes.

Boil the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water until tender. Drain and mash until smooth and lump-free, then beat in the butter and egg yolks.

Strain the infused milk and cream, discarding the solids, then slowly pour into the mash and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the lamb to a bowl and, when it is cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones in chunky shreds. Return the meat to the pan and mix in the peas and vinegar, then pour the whole lot into an ovenproof dish.

Smother with the mash, scraping it into peaks in places – these bits will go lovely and crisp.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden, then serve.