“What’s for dinner?” my small boy asked me, “and is Uncle Mark staying?”
“It’s shepherd’s pie and yes Uncle Mark is staying…”
Before I could finish the sentence my boy frowned and butted in angrily saying, “we can’t have that, Uncle Mark is a vegetarian, he can’t eat shepherds!”
There was a moment of silence where the adults in the room covered their mouths and tried to hold in the laughter, but we couldn’t manage it.
All the laughing made my small boy even more angry. “It’s not funny! Being vegetarian is a real proper thing!” he said stamping his foot, and of course that made us laugh even more!
The story about our vegetarian friend not eating shepherds is now a family legend, and someone always brings it up when we have this easy, and delicious, shepherd’s pie for dinner!
You might call this easy family pie a Cottage Pie, but in our house it’s known as Shepherd’s Pie. You’ll be pleased to know, it doesn’t have any actual shepherds in it and technically it is only supposed to be called a Shepherd’s pie if you use lamb mince, but you can use beef mince in this pie and it tastes just as delicious
You’ll also be pleased to know that since vegetarians can’t eat shepherds, I made Uncle Mark his own little vegetarian version. You can replace the meat in this pie with extra lentils and some chickpeas and it’s just as delicious.
Whatever you call it, this pie is full of delicious meat, loads of vegetables, and topped with mashed potatoes.
It’s easy to make as one big, family sized pie, or you can make it in individual pie dishes if you’d like.
We add a puff pastry crust on the bottom and sides (because pastry is delicious) but you can leave that out if you like.
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 500gms minced lamb (or beef)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp seedy mustard
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red lentils (soaked or cooked till soft)
- 2 cups of frozen veggies (peas, corn and carrots)
- 1.5 kgs potatoes, boiled and mashed
- 2-3 sheets frozen puff pastry. thawed
- In a large fry pan cook the diced onion in a little oil until soft.
- Add the minced meat and cook, breaking up the lumps, until well browned.
- Add the flour and stirring cook the meat and flour mixture over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard and herbs and stir through.
- Add the cooked lentils and frozen veggies and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, adding a little extra water if needed.
- Preheat your oven to 210 Celsius (approx 410 F).
- Grease a large pie dish or lasagna dish and line the bottom and sides with puff pastry sheets. Spoon in the meat mixture and top with mashed potato.
- Bake in a hot hot oven for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the pastry are golden, then reduce the heat to around 180 C (350F) and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Please note: this recipe uses Australian measurements and temperatures, if you need to convert measurements or temperatures you can find our printable cooking conversion chart here.
If you are not a vegetarian, and you can eat shepherds, try this easy family shepherd’s pie!