The chill of winter makes me want to make comfort food. Simple recipes, with rich flavors and lots of carbs. Nothing fancy. Just something in which a big spoon could be dug right into. All these thoughts in my mind made me come up with this Shepherd’s Pie recipe. I made it for friends at a board game night that we all host turn by turn. Served the pie with my cheesy casserole bake, garlic bread and a Hersheys chocolate cookie cake (recipe coming up soon) for dessert.
Shepherd’s Pie is a recipe that originates from Ireland. It was a dish of the working class typically made with leftovers like roast meat, lambs and potatoes (the easiest of available crops there). The version I made was with chicken mince with onion, capsicum (as a substitute of celery), carrots, peas and corn. Added just a little bit of cheese and then topped off with mashed potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper and red chili flakes for a Desi kick. Just to make it look prettier, added olives and jalapenos with a sprinkle of red chilies. This is something that I have seen a friend of mine do on her version of Shepherd’s Pie and it just gives it a pleasing pop of color amidst the potatoes.
As for the game night, we played Cranium. It was boys versus girls and well, the girls lost! But at least they all thought the food was delicious.
Shepherd's PiePrint Recipe
- For the Meat Filling
- 2 – 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 600 grams chicken mince or beef mince (lean mince, fat removed)
- 2 capsicum, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 small tomatoes, boiled & skin removed or 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper (more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 cup chicken stock or chicken cube dissolved in 1 cup water
- ½ can of corn drained (10.5 oz)
- ½ cup frozen peas
- For the Potato Topping
- 100 grams of cheddar or mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
- 1 egg
- ½ cup / 100 ml of cream
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- Chili flakes, for garnish
- Green or black olives, for garnish
- Sliced Jalapenos, for garnish
- Corn, for garnish
For Meat Filling:
Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds till color changes. Add onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken and sauté till color changes from pink to white.
Add carrots, capsicum and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the boiled tomatoes (or tomato paste) and mash into the mixture to release juices.
Add Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, red chili flakes, flour and chicken stock. Cook for about 10 minutes till the mixture thickens and the chicken mince is cooked through.
Add corn and peas right at the end. Cook for about 2 minutes and taste to adjust seasonings if required. Set aside.
For Potato Topping:
In the meanwhile wash, peel and cut potatoes in quarters.
Place a large pot of water on boil and add potatoes along with a teaspoon of salt.
Cook potatoes till tender. Check by inserting a knife into the potatoes and if it passes through easily, the potatoes are done.
Once potatoes are soft, remove from heat and strain in a colander, then transfer to a large bowl.
Mash potatoes with a potato masher or a fork.
Add cream, butter, and egg yolk to potatoes.
Continue mixing till potatoes are smooth. Season with salt, pepper and red chili flakes.
Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
Spoon the meat mixture into a large casserole dish – can be square or round as per your personal preference.
Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
Top with mashed potatoes. Make sure that the edges are properly covered else the mixture will boil up from the sides.
Garnish with olives, corn, jalapenos and red chili flakes.
Keep Shepherd’s pie in oven for 5-10 minutes till heated through and then under the broiler for 5 minutes so the potatoes are nicely browned from the edges.
If planning to serve the Shepherd’s Pie after a couple of hours then put it in the fridge for 45 minutes before serving. Cook in a pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes till heated through, bubbling and browned. Serve hot.
Though the Shepherd’s Pie can be assembled in advance, freezing is not recommended as exposure to such low temperatures tend to make potatoes lose water.