So you have a fridge full of leftovers and no inkling what to do with them. Why not try making a simple Shepherd’s Pie?
Whether you call it a Shepherd’s Pie or a Cottage Pie, this British staple has been around since the 1800s and refers to a meat pie with a mashed potato crust. Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb while Cottage Pie is made with beef, but today the terms are used interchangeably.
Shepherd’s Pie can be made with leftover ingredients or fresh. It’s always a hearty dish good for cold nights, or when you’re just craving a nice, big helping of comfort food!
1. Switch up the meat
You can go with either the traditional lamb or beef Shepherd’s Pie, or switch it up and substitute pork, turkey, or the lean deliciousness that is ground bison!
2. Change your sauce
If you’re changing the type of meat you use, you can also change the type of sauce stirred into the meat (in my family’s recipe, we use tomato soup).
For beef and lamb: try substituting 1 cup (250 mL) gravy
For turkey and chicken: try substituting 1 can mushroom soup
For beef and lamb: try substituting 1 can baked beans
3. Add your veggies
Many Shepherd’s Pie recipes call for the addition of vegetables. Peas, carrots and corn are traditionally mixed in with the meat but feel free to use up whatever vegetables you have leftover in your fridge.
Red, yellow and orange peppers
Modern Shepherd’s Pie recipes can call for cheese either mixed in with the potatoes or sprinkled (generously!) on top.
Mashing potatoes with ¼ cup Cheddar cheese
Sprinkling Parmesan cheese on top of potatoes
5. Add a Sweet Potato Topping
Roast 4 medium sweet potatoes in the oven at 375º F until potatoes are tender (about one hour). Peel and then mash with ¼ cup (60 mL) cream, 1 Tbs butter, 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
6. Paté Chinois
Quebec has its own version of a Shepherd’s Pie called Paté Chinois. Simply begin your Shepherd’s Pie as normal but before you layer on the mashed potatoes, cover the meat with 1 large can (540 mL) of creamed corn.
7. Literally, spice it up
You can add a variety of spices to your base to boost the flavour of your Shepherd’s Pie. Common spices include thyme, bay leaves and rosemary, but you can add your favourites or even things that are a bit more exotic like Asian Five Spice powder or garam masala!
1 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. oregano
8. Go meatless
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pies are made using lentils, beans or crumbled vegetarian protein. Many also include the addition of mushrooms.
Try this substitution for the filling:
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery sticks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs (15 mL) oil
1–1 ½ cups cooked or canned green or brown lentils, beans or vegetarian protein
1 can tomato soup
To taste salt and pepper
1. Sauté carrots, celery and onion in oil.
2. Add tomato soup and lentils. Cook until thickened, about 30 minutes.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.