This was a standard in our house while I was growing up.
My maiden name was ‘Shepherd’ so every time my mum made this dish, she’d tease us, and say that she’d need to take fingers or toes from us kids to go in to it and we’d run off squealing 🙂
It’s been a long time since I was a Shepherd but Mum cooked it for us while we were in Perth over Christmas and I was surprised to find that it was a mince meal that I quite enjoyed. So here is my version of my mum’s pie.
- 2 tbsp garlic oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- approx 500g beef mince**
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if your diet allows)
- 1 tbsp vegemite (or a GF, soy free miso paste)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 heaped tbsp Orgran’s gravy mix powder (or use homemade gravy and omit the powder and the water)
- 3-4 grated carrots
- 1.5 cups frozen peas
- 1 (or 2) tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 6 large field mushrooms (see notes at bottom of recipe)
- 2 cups spinach – optional
- 1 tsp nuttelex (or coconut oil)
- good pinch salt
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
**For a more traditional pie, use your left over roast lamb here (Shepherd’s did look after sheep after all!), finely chop it and just add it to the vegetable mix to simmer for a few minutes before you transfer it over to the casserole dish.
In a large frying pan heat the garlic oil, the add the onion, cooking until it begins to soften.
Then add the mince and break it up as it browns.
Add in the sauce, paste and vegemite mix well.
Add the lentils and then add in a about 1/3 cup water. Allow to simmer very gently for about 15 minutes.
While this is simmering, bring potatoes to the boil in another saucepan and boil until very soft. (If you’ve used a thermal cooker to do the veg … you can easily do the mash in it too. Drop chunks of potato onto speed 4 spinning blades through the hole in the lid. Turn up to speed 6 for about 10 seconds after adding. Turn off, scrape down, add about 1/4 cup water and cook on Steam Temp, Speed 2 for about 8 minutes, scraping down once during cooking time. Blitz on Speed 5 until roughly smooth, then add oil, rosemary and salt then mix again on speed 4 for about 8 seconds).
Add to the meat mix, the carrot and peas and bring back to a simmer for 5 minutes. (To prep the veggies in a Thermal cooker, Drop chunks of carrot onto speed 4 spinning blades through the hole in the lid. Turn up to speed 6 for about 10 seconds after adding. Set aside then add the mushrooms and blitz on speed 5 for 10 seconds. Set aside – you can even blitz the frozen peas if you’d like to hide them a little more!). Blitz the spinach and add it here too if you’re using it.
Mix the gravy powder together with a couple of tbsp on water to make a paste then add to the meat and mix well. You don’t want the meat mix to be too runny, so be careful not to add to much water here.
Drain and mash the potatoes together. Make sure the mash is very smooth, then add the nuttelex, salt and rosemary.
Top the meat with the potatoes. Because it is quite thick, I find it easiest to place blobs of the potato around the dish and then spread from there. Use a fork to spread it so that you get raised lines that go lovely and crunchy in the oven.
Place in a pre-heated moderate oven for about 20-30 mins, turning on the top element of the oven, or placing under the grill for the remaining 5 minutes.
This was very well received at our house and it made enough for all 5 of us for dinner and a couple of yummy lunches too.
If you would like to bulk this meal up enough to make enough for 2 large family dinners, I add a second can of lentils and 4-6 large grated field mushrooms.
*if you love a Shepherd’s pie but you want or need a vegan version check it ours here.