Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Shepherd’s Pie, Regular and Using Leftovers

No, Pop was not a shepherd.
Neither was Ma a shepherd.
But she grew up in Malta and had learned quite a few British recipes.
One popular British dish was Cottage Pie.

Cottage Pie was originally meant to help get poorer folks used to the idea of eating potatoes in 1791.
It was also a way to use leftover roasted meat.

Originally a pie dish was lined with mashed potatoes, filled with leftovers, then covered with even more mashed potatoes.

A mound of starch… what Maltese wouldn’t love that?

Cottage Pie is more popularly known as Shepherd’s Pie, since it originally was made using leftover cooked mutton.
Whether you use mutton or beef, it’s sure to please.


If you don’t have gravy, you can substitute BBQ sauce.
or a can of mushroom soup or tomato soup. 
Or a mixture of soup and sauce.
You can also use turkey gravy, if you have some leftover from a holiday dinner.

Want more cheese?  Why not?
If you have mozzarella cheese or mild cheddar cheese, that will work, too.
Ma was trying to get more calcium into us, and, during the 50s and 60s, cholesterol didn't worry anyone's parents.

Don’t have - or want - cheese in your Shepherd’s Pie?
No problem.  Leave it out.
You can also top the potatoes with cooked pieces of bacon and fried onions.

If you don’t have a pound of cooked ground beef sitting in the fridge you can increase the meal's protein by adding cooked kidney, or other, beans.
Invited vegetarians?
Shepherd’s Pie can also be made using only cooked beans.

Feel free to use what you have in the vegetable department:
Chopped onions, mushrooms and canned corn - regular or creamed - are good in this dish.

Taste the meat / vegetable mixture before you spoon it into the pan.
If you’d like it spicier, add a few favourites.
Garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, steak spice, thyme, crushed rosemary are a few ideas, if you don't have a favourite go-to meat spice.

You can also make the casserole and freeze it for a future meal.

                        Shepherd’s Pie

6 servings

Place in a large pot
1 1/4 pounds red potatoes, cut into eighths
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
Cover them with water and bring to a boil.
Cook 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. 
3/4 Cup reduced-fat sour cream
Mash potatoes until smooth. 
Stir in 
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Brown in a large nonstick skillet 
1 pound extra-lean ground beef 
Stir in 
2 Tablespoons flour
Cook 1 minute. 
4 Cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 Cups beef broth
4 Tablespoons ketchup
Cook 5 minutes. 

Heat oven to 375°F
Spoon the cooked meat / vegetable mixture into an 8 inch square baking pan.
Cover with the mashed potatoes.
Sprinkle over the meat
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
Bake 30 minutes.

Serve with salad and crusty bread.

                        Shepherd’s Pie, Using Leftovers

6 servings

Mix until blended  
2 Cups mashed potatoes 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375º F
1 pound cooked extra-lean ground beef  
4 Cups mixed vegetables, or leftover vegetables of what you have
2 Cups beef gravy 
Spoon the meat / vegetable mixture into an 8 inch square baking pan.
Cover the meat mixture with the mashed potato mixture. 
Sprinkle over the mashed potatoes
1/4 - 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Bake 30 minutes.

Serve with salad and crusty bread.


  1. I LOVE Shepherd's Pie, Margaret! However, I've never made it with cheese. Very interesting...

    It's funny, Mae over at Mae's Food Blog served up some Shepherd's Pie in her last post. (she used leftover lamb shanks:) Tis the season I suppose:)

    Thanks for sharing, Margaret...

  2. Hi, Louise! The nice thing about Shepherd's Pie is that it's open to using whatever you have - or are trying to feed the kids.
    I love non-fussy recipes.
    Maybe it is the season for casseroles :-)


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