Thursday, 19 July 2012

Simple Shepherd's Pie - dairy free, soya free, gluten free

If you're a bit of a foodie, switch off NOW - as I very much doubt you'll learn anything from me. BUT if you are  a complete novice, or are just interested in whether we do anything different, well you might just want to read on!

I suspect that when I was a child what we, as a family, called 'Shepherd's Pie' was probably more likely what is more correctly termed 'Cottage Pie' - the difference being in the meat. Cottage Pie is made with minced beef and Shepherd's Pie (the clue is in the name) is made with lamb mince. Whatever! Whether it's Shepherd's or Cottage Pie, I love it and make it completely the same way, no matter which meat we use.

Baby also loves Shepherd's Pie, and it's a great way of sneaking in the veggies, without her noticing, so we tend to make it about once a week. The great thing about it is that it is so simple to make - even I can do it. The only downside is all the prep!


750g Potato
450g mince (lamb or beef)
Half an onion
3 medium carrots
1 courgette
6 white mushrooms
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
Stock cube Kallo/Knorr or similar
Handful of grated Violife/cheese
Salt & pepper (to taste)


1. Heat oven to 190 degrees C.

2. Half fill a saucepan with cold water and bring to the boil.

3. While you're waiting for the saucepan to boil, peel and chop the potatoes, carrots, courgette, onion and mushrooms.

4. Once the water has come to the boil, add the potatoes and a pinch of salt. At this stage, I usually add a steamer tier to the pan and steam the carrot, as I like my carrot soft-ish.

5. Heat olive oil in cast iron casserole or large pan. Add the onion and the minced meat and mushrooms. Stir until meat is thoroughly cooked and juices run clear (about 30 minutes).

6. Once the potatoes have cooked, drain the water, add a few dollops of margarine and a splash of almond (or other) milk. Mash the potatoes until they are smooth. Before 'Baby' we would add a little salt and pepper at this point, but we try to avoid adding salt with her around, and she's not so keen on strange flavours.

7. Take the casserole/pan off the heat. If using the pan, empty the contents into the casserole dish. Add the carrots and courgette and combine the ingredients, with a spoon.

Cooking in the casserole makes for one less pan to wash ;)

8. Use boiling water and a stock cube (best to use a reduced salt version, if cooking for a little one - Marigold Swiss Bouillon make a reduced salt version) to make 250ml stock. Pour it over the meat and vegetables. I don't like my stock too runny, so will use the whole cube.

9. Now add the mash with a fork. Add it in small dollops to avoid it sinking in with the meat/stock.  I like to fork it over, so that it crisps nicely in the oven.

10. If you like a cheesy crisp, to the mash, you can sprinkle a handful of grated cheese (we use dairy and soya free Violife) over the top of the mash. I think it makes it more scrumptious!

11. Cook until the top is crispy and golden (around 30-45 mins).


Talking of all things scrumptious, I saw a tip from the Hairy Bikers the other day, which suggested adding some lardons to the mince and instead of mash using gnocci to speed things up (some gnocci is made dairy free and gluten free). Not tried it yet, but... Ooo! I'm tempted!

Please note: 

This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's).

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