Not many people understand the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie and often mix them up so I’ll set you straight! 😉 Traditionally both are made with breadcrumbs to soak up the liquids and bulk out the dish as meat is expensive so watch out for restaurant versions as there is bound to be breadcrumbs in them! Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with lamb minced meat (hence shepherds look after lambs) and includes carrot, onion and garlic with a mashed potato topping and was my dad’s favourite English dish. Cottage Pie is made with beef minced meat and includes carrots, onion, garlic and other vegetables with a mashed potato topping.
This recipe is Cottage Pie but if you’re not a fan of the veggies I use or you want to make a Shepherd’s Pie using this recipe just switch the mince for Lamb and just keep the carrots, onions and garlic. I have also adapted this recipe to make it paleo friendly by using grated cauliflower for the topping instead of potatoes but feel free to use normal white potatoes if you’re not on a paleo diet. Alternatively, you can use sweet potatoes and still keep it paleo if you’re not a cauliflower fan!
What you need to know:
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 40 – 50 mins
Oven temp.: 180 °C / 350 °F
Ingredients for 6 portions:
500 g beef mince
2 white onions
2 medium carrots
1 medium leek topped and tailed
2 small parsnips
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 tbsp rosemary chopped, dried or fresh
1 tbsp thyme, dried or fresh
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp smoked paprika
200 ml gluten free beef / meat stock
salt and pepper
1 medium – large cauliflower, grated
(or use sweet or white potatoes, enough to cover the
entire dish without gaps)
1 tbsp butter, ghee or olive oil
2-3 tbsp double or sour cream
salt and pepper
grated cheese of choice (optional)
1 large casserole dish, round or square approx. 30 cm long
1. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
2. Peel and chop vegetables until small diced size, alternatively use a blender and roughly blend.
3. Place onions, carrots, mincemeat, garlic, parsnips and leek in a pan with the coconut / olive oil and place a lid on top to help sweat the leeks and make the vegetables tender. Fry on a medium heat until the meat starts to brown.
4. Once the meat is brown and the vegetables are soft add the herbs, tomato puree, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Let this heat through and then add the meat stock. If you can find a gluten free Worcestershire sauce you can add a few drops of that with the meat stock as well. I don’t have one so I can’t do that!
5. Bring the pan to a gentle simmer on a low heat, possibly the lowest setting. Leave covered. Steam or boil the cauliflower or potatoes if using (if boiling don’t add too much water otherwise you’ll loose the vitamins in the water. Need just enough to soften).
6. When the cauliflower / potatoes are soft, drain and mash. Add 1 tbsp of butter, ghee or olive oil and 1-2 tbsp of double or soured cream and salt and pepper. Mash and mix well until you get a smooth consistency.
7. Take the meat pan off the heat and pour into the casserole dish and top with the cauliflower / potato mash. Make sure there are no gaps and the topping covers well with a good thick top. Add some grated cheese if you want to and pop into the oven for about 30 mins until the topping is nice and brown. You might need to pop a tray or foil underneath the oven shelf as it might bubble over slightly depending on how full your dish is!
8. Serve with veggies or on its own with a nice glass of red wine and enjoy! It’s utterly mouthwateringly delicious and you’re bound to want seconds! I also like mine with tomato ketchup! mmm!
Tip: take leftovers to work for lunch and reheat in the microwave! Leftovers will keep up to 3 days covered with cling film in the fridge or up to 6 months in Tupperware frozen.