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Real Deal Shepherd's Pie

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The other day I decided to watch one of my favourite British Netflix series, The Big Family Cooking Showdown. Basically, families made up of teams of three that go head to head in the kitchen, battling it out to see who will be the best chef. In this episode, teams had to choose one family member to cook solo in a surprise skill-testing round. What was on the the menu, you ask?

Shepherd's pie.

As they began to cook, choosing recipes from different levels of difficulty, I noticed something. Each shepherd’s pie used some form of lamb. Huh.

I’d always used ground beef and assumed that was how a traditional shepherd's pie was made, but what I've recently learned is that a shepherd’s pie made with beef is actually called a cottage pie. I have to say that it makes sense that a traditional shepherd's pie is actually made with #lamb. After all, a shepherd rallies flock of sheep, a.k.a. adult lambs!

Intrigued to try a lamb-based pie, I got to cooking! And let me tell you, I was not disappointed with the result.

Lamb is made for shepherd’s pie.

Earthier and, dare I say it, a bit gamier, lamb is a #decadent and unique swap for beef.

Though I wanted to try and keep this pie fairly traditional, the topping is a bit different. Instead of a potato mash, I added some parsnips to this layer. I find it adds another element to the dish that's just mildly sweet, but not enough to make you think you’re having dessert.

Consequently, there is a lot going on in a shepherd’s pie. Yes, there is a healthy dose of veg, but there’s also some savoury sauce and some fatty meat. So, I recommend serving this with a light frisé salad tossed with olive oil and vinegar, just to cut the fat and balance the gluttony of it all.

When the pie comes out of the oven all warm, bubbling with goodness and oozing with flavour, you won’t be able to resist yourself. I think- like me- you’ll find that you’ve become a lamb convert after tasting this pie. Happy tasting!

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Real Deal Shepherd's Pie

*Makes 8 servings*


  • 8 medium sized potatoes, chopped

  • 3 parsnip, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 white onion, chopped

  • 1 package ground lamb

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 cup peas

  • 1 cup corn

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1/2 stick butter

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon beef broth concentrate


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

  2. In a large pot, boil potatoes and half the parsnips for 15 minutes. Once the veggies are cooked, mash and set aside.

  3. Heat a pan with olive oil over medium heat and sauteé onions until translucent. Add the lamb and spices, cooking 10 minutes until brown.

  4. Add carrots, peas, corn and remaining parsnips to the pan and steam for 10 minutes until tender.

  5. In a separate pot, melt ½ stick of butter. Whisk in flour, milk and beef concentrate. Stir into the lamb and veggie mix.

  6. In a 9" x 13” casserole dish, spread the lamb and veggie mix evenly, topping with the mashed potatoes and parsnips. Let bake for 1 hour.

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