Tantalizing Shepherd’s Pie

Tremendous thanks to Heather for this well thought out recipe!

Tasty Shepherd’s Pie

This is a good meal for a cold winter evening. It’s also a good way for a frugal chef to use up some “long in the tooth” root veggies and some of those veggies you bought inexpensively in the fall, blanched and tucked away in your freezer and which are now beginning to look a bit tired.

The Topping

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

Approx. 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower florets

2 TBSP butter

2 heaping TBSP plain yoghurt or sour cream

1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp salt (unless you used salted butter above)

Dash of ground black pepper

Cover the potatoes pieces and cauliflower florets with water, bring to a boil and allow them to boil gently for about 10 minutes or until a sharp knife enters both easily. Drain and put into a bowl but be sure to save all that great potato/cauliflower water to add to your next soup.

In the same pot melt, over low heat, the butter and mix in all the other topping ingredients. Add the drained potato pieces and cauliflower florets to the pot, coat them in this warm mixture and coarsely mash. The cauliflower “disappears” but still adds a lovely nutty flavour to the mashed potato topping.

The Filling

500 g (about 1 pound) ground beef or lamb

1 chopped cooking onion or 1 or 2 diced leeks

2 minced garlic cloves

1 diced carrot (or  ½ parsnip, ½ carrot)

1 handful sliced mushrooms

1 handful frozen green peas

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1/3 cup of your favourite red wine

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

2 TBSP tomato paste (ketchup works well too)

2 tsp fresh diced rosemary (dried will do if you haven’t brought in a small plant to over-winter)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup of your favourite cheese (grated)

1-2 TBSP olive oil

In a skillet add the olive oil and sliced mushrooms, stir fry for a couple of minutes and set aside.

Add crumbled ground beef or lamb and cook until brown. Add the diced onion or chives, minced garlic cloves, diced carrots and parsnips and pepper and cook gently until they have softened.

Add the wine and cook for a couple of minutes then sprinkle the mixture with flour and stir. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and rosemary. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes until it begins to thicken. Add the green peas and cooked mushrooms, stir for a few more minutes and remove from heat. Transfer the filling to a casserole dish. (For easier clean-up use one large enough so that the filling reaches the 2/3 level. You may prefer to spoon the mixture into individual ramekins). Spoon potato topping onto filling and use a fork to draw it to the edges


I tossed the grated cheese into the topping, mixed briefly and then spooned the topping onto the filling. (You may prefer to sprinkle the cheese on top of the potato mixture at the end).

Place the uncovered casserole dish or ramekins onto a baking sheet and into the oven after positioning the oven rack in the upper 1/2 of the oven and pre-heating the oven’s broiler. I used the Lo setting and left my casserole in for about 15 minutes while I whipped up a crunchy tossed salad.

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