Artist’s Palate: William Eggleston’s shepherd’s pie

William Eggleston's shepherd's pie
‘Oval’ dish, £42, by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec; ‘Santiago’ tablespoon, £30, by David Chipperfield, both for Alessi.
(Image credit: Zachary Zavislak)

In keeping with his photographic work, William Eggleston has taken a mundane, day-to-day subject and made a rich, luxurious version of it. William Eggleston's pie is adapted from a recipe by filmmaker Richard Leacock.

One leg of lamb – deboned
Herbes de Provence
Fresh ground pepper
One large onion
6 cloves garlic
5-6 large red potatoes
Bay leaf
2 sticks of butter
Whole milk/cream
Veal or beef stock
Ketchup (spicy if possible)

It is important to roast the leg of lamb the day before. Salt and pepper entire surface of lamb. Coat entire surface with plenty Herbes de Provence. Roll lamb up and tie with multiple strands of cotton twine. Roast lamb in 325 degree oven on roasting pan until medium rare (130 degrees). Remove from oven and let rest until room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Save all juices and drippings.

The next day, peel and dice potatoes into big chunks and boil in salted water with 4-5 bay leaves until done. Drain, discard bay leaves and mash with 1 stick (or less) butter, milk and salt to taste. Process onion and garlic in Cuisinart until finely chopped. Remove and set aside. Remove lamb from fridge and remove cotton strings. Slice into 1 inch thick slices then cut slices into 1 inch cubes. Put in Cuisinart and process to ground meat texture, you may have to do this in batches. In a very large bowl mix ground lamb, onions, garlic, drippings, juices and even more Herbes de Provence together. Add stock if too dry.  Butter a casserole dish, place meat in dish and level out to one single layer. Layer mashed potatoes on top as second layer. Melt stick of butter and evenly drizzle all over top of potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Place under broiler and slightly brown potatoes on top. Serve with spicy ketchup on the side.

As originally featured in the December 2010 issue of Wallpaper* (W*141)