Quick and easy
“Shepherd’s pie is a ground meat pie with a crust or topping of mashed potato. The recipe has many variations, but the defining ingredients are ground red meat cooked in a gravy or sauce with onions, and topped with a layer of mashed potato before it is baked. Sometimes other vegetables are added to the filling, such as peas, celery or carrots. The pie is sometimes also gratineed with grated cheese to create a layer of melted cheese on top. In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined on the sides and bottom with mashed potato, as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.
Growing up, a lot of my friends who migrated to Cyprus always ate shepherd’s pie and would mention it as their weekly tea, aka dinner. I remember making fun of the name and refer to this dish as a shepherd making my pie and picture this dish as a traditional pastry pie. Call me naive back then, but now it’s one of my favourite dishes and I even came to learn how to make it into a vegetarian option by Hellofresh.
You will need:
Handful dry porchini
Handful dry shitake mushroom
1 ladle of infused liquid from the soaked porchini and shitake mushrooms
4 sweet potatoes / normal potatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch rosemary sprig
1 bunch thyme sprig
1 tin lentils
1 chicken/ vegetable stock cube
1 tin tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter
Grated mozzarella cheese
Start by boiling water, add the dry porchini and shitake mushrooms into a bowl and fill the hot water till it covers the mushrooms. Place a lid and let it soak for up to 15mins. Peel the sweet potatoes, and in a medium pan, start boiling it till it’s soft. Add a pinch of salt into the boiling water to season the sweet potatoes, once done, drain the potatoes into a colander and mash the potatoes using a fork/potato masher. To smoothen the mash, add butter, milk and salt; give it a good mix and taste for additional seasoning then set it aside till it’s time to build the pie. Making the sauce, you will need to start by thinly dicing the carrots, onion and crush garlic. On a pan, sweat the onions on medium heat with drizzled olive oil, followed with the carrots and garlic. Pick off the sprigs of thyme and rosemary and disregard the woody part before finely running a knife through them. Add in the tomato sauce, drained lentils and a stock cube. Dice the mushrooms into small cubes and mixing both mushrooms and a ladle of it’s infused liquid for extra flavour. Give it a good mix, season the sauce with salt, pepper, sugar and leave it to simmer for 15-20mins on low heat. Transfer the sauce into a baking dish and top with the mash sweet potato, add some grated mozzarella cheese then place the pie in the oven and grill the cheese till brown in colour. The pie is to be served and eaten right away.