It’s freezing in Somerset this week and the new year salads are not looking appealing – tonight we need something meaty, warming and nourishing. I have concocted this recipe to pack in as much protein as possible for those of us who are working out hard with a topping which tastes fluffy and buttery but is in fact low fat with a high veg content. The inclusion of beluga lentils doesn’t detract from the “meaty” texture but in fact adds to it, taking the meat content down but giving you high fibre and protein. I won’t tell them if you don’t. Turmeric adds an anti-inflammatory element and the Umami paste a wonderful rich flavour that delivers even if served on the same day of making it.
I sneak a tin of butter beans into the mash for added protein – they’ll never know.
Shepherds pie does of course indicate a lamb content which I personally don’t care for so this contains low fat beef & pork mince – what’s in your version is obviously up to you.
If you are short of time and/or inclination, the freezer aisle may be able to help you with the topping – small frozen piped duchess potatoes can double as a mash (I get mine from Lidl) or M&S do tiny spring onion rosti potatoes which are low fat, crispy, tasty and dead easy to overlay as a topping.
Quantities are to make two family sized pies, one for tonight, one for the freezer.
Shhhhh..epherds Pie – Makes 2 x pies, 6 servings each.
2/3 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
1 1/2 large onions, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
500g 5% lean steak/lamb mince
500g 5% pork mince
1 large glass good red wine
2 x cans chopped Italian tomatoes
400ml hot beef stock
1 x heaped tsp turmeric
1 x tsp smoked paprika
1 heaped tbsp umami paste
1 x heaped tsp dried oregano
1 x heaped tsp dried basil
1 x microwave packet of Beluga lentils (I used Merchant Gourmet)
300g mushrooms, finely sliced
salt and fresh ground pepper to season.
1 whole celeriac
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
1 tin butter beans
2 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
salt and black/pink pepper to season
Take a large, heavy based pan and sweat the bacon until coloured. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until soft and translucent.
Add the meat, one at a time, making sure each is coloured and browned before moving onto the next.
Glug in the wine, turning up the heat until it reduces into the meat.
Add all the other ingredients, stirring together on a simmer until well combined. Pop on the back burner for 45 minutes to bubble gently.
When done, divide the sauce between two deep pie dishes to await the topping.
Heat the oven to Gas 6/200dg.
Peel and chop the potatoes and celeriac into small roast potatoes size, rinse and boil in salted water until a knife slides through easily, approx. 15 minutes. Add the tin of butter beans into this and heat through.
Drain well and shake in a colander, roughing up the edges and letting the steam escape well – soggy, watery mash is not a lovely thing. When they are looking fluffy, return to the empty saucepan off the heat with the cream fraiche, season well and mash until creamy. Some people get the piping bag out at this stage for posh – I can never be bothered.
Take a couple of dessert spoons and divide the topping equally over the fillings, then fork until even and level. You can also sprinkle with a flavoursome cheddar now if you wish.
Slam in the hot oven for 20 minutes or so until brown and bubbling. Set the table and break into a bottle of red while the kids wash their hands.
Serve with buttered petit pois or tiny carrots.