Family Favourite Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s pie is an easy no-fail dish that can be made ahead of time.  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and top with mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes.  For a vegetarian version, substitute the ground beef with bulgur wheat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass fed lean ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 4 cups of your favourite vegetables — I used rainbow carrots, peas and corn
  • 5 1/2 oz can organic tomato paste + 2 cans water (I like to use tomato paste rather than tomato sauce to avoid extra sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • freshly ground pepper
  • paprika (optional)
  • mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes for topping

Method:

  1. In skillet over medium heat, cook beef, stirring to break up meat, until brown; pour off fat.  For a vegetarian version, use 3 parts water to 1 part bulgur wheat.  Bring water to a boil; add bulgur, boil for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover; let stand for 5 minutes, drain excess water.  Transfer to a skillet.
  2. Add onions, garlic and vegetables.  Cook until tender.
  3. Add tomato paste, water, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring up any brown bits on bottom of pan.
  5. Spoon mixture into a casserole dish and spread mashed potatoes evenly on top. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.
  6. Bake at 375F for about 35 minutes or until heated through.  This dish can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.  It also freezes well.  Freeze before baking.  Defrost in the fridge over night and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until heated through.
  7. Makes 6 servings.  Enjoy!

Bulgur wheat’s greatest claim to fame is tabbouleh salad, but it’s also a terrific substitute for ground beef. When cooked in shepherd’s pie, for example, its texture becomes very similar to ground beef, but offers more fiber and far less fat. Bulgur is available in several granulation sizes. The finer the grind, the less time is required for cooking the bulgur. A fine-ground bulgur will soften in about seven minutes, while a medium grind bulgur will be ready to eat in around 15 minutes. For shepherd’s pie, I prefer a medium grind.

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