What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

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What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Nicola H » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:34 am

We've made it in the past for hubby with beef and gravy and some veg, but he says it doesn't have enough flavour.

I do a vege one for me which I love, so what would be a good way to make a meat Shep Pie taste good?

Any tips? Thanks!!

( I'm looking to make some good home-cooked meals and stock up the freezer before baby makes an appearance :) )

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby annmarie » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:04 am

Tomato puree is flavoursome (quite concentrated so add a little at a time) - onions, garlic, oregano all give it extra flavour. What do you do about tasting it if it's meat and you're veggie?
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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Nicola H » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:36 am

Thanks Annmarie - I put a whole jar of tomato puree in my one, we have lots of jars from the garden last year to use up. :)

Yeah, I certainly don't taste Ron's Shep Pie because it has meat in it!! I just go by the look of it, but he did mention it needed more flavour :roll:

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby annmarie » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:53 pm

Your own tomatoes won't be concentrated like the tubes - and they sound great! Yummy! I'm all in favour of home-grown and cooked rather than supermarket mass-produced!

It's difficult to cook without tasting it! I'm basing my flavours on my spag bol recipe and Ron might like something different from my Mediterranean ideas. I could never be veggie because I don't like cabbage and such, but I love things like ratatouille and more veggies and less meat is healthier. I used to put lots of veggies in my cooking - at the moment my shoulder is playing up, so Sainsbury's are doing the cooking ... I once made a pot of ratatouille to dip into with my meal; you need to do it in autumn here when the veggies are cheaper.
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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Net » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:10 pm

I make and sell Shepherds Pies, which are actually lamb. If you're using beef its a Cottage Pie :wink:

Now in a Cottage or Shepherds pie tomato pur
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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Carolyn » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:04 pm

I always do mine with lamb too. I cook the lamb first slowly for around an hour or even longer. I cook it with onions and carrots and often add mushrooms at the end, a stock cube, salt and pepper and that is about it. sometimes tomato but I don't think it is traditional like Net says.

I take put some of the excess fat and then top with mash and some cheese on top and put back in the oven.

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Nicola H » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:31 pm

Ahh interesting - thanks guys! I don't think we ever buy lamb, but we could have a look at the Farmers Market when we're next there. We normally pick up nice organic Alberta beef, I just assumed that beef was what's in a shepherds pie! learn something new every day :)

What would the flour be added for? Is that to thicken the gravy up a bit, or to stick all the fat from the lamb together? Do you not drain off the fat from the meat 1st? We don't normally add salt to anything, so that may be where I'm going wrong too.

I'll certainly give this a try! Thanks!! Will report back in a week or so with the verdict from Ron once I've tried it!

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Nicola H » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:35 pm

annmarie wrote:Your own tomatoes won't be concentrated like the tubes


We put the tomatoes through a European tomato press, then boil for a few hours until it's mega concentrated puree, then jar them up to use all year. It helps that we had about 50 tomato plants last year too :lol: might cut that number back a bit this year :-? ....

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Carolyn » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:57 pm

flour would thicken - I normally add some cornflour.

yes I do skim off some of the fat - for health reasons!

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Leggies » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:38 pm

Net's recipe sounds like mine (well MIL's if we are actually totally truthful! :wink: ) I do sometimes add a bit of dried parsley - but only every now and then.

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Leggies » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:42 pm

Just looked at that gadget - looks great! can you get them over here?

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Nicola H » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:17 pm

I don't know, but it works fab for making apple puree too. No more chopping and peeling!


Am very keen to give the recipe a try! Thanks for all the tips everyone. Seems to be salt, flour, lamb and meat-fat that I was lacking :lol: :lol: :lol:


What do you add to your mashed potatoes to make them tasty? I just add some butter or milk, and lots of cheese on top. Am I missing anything there too?

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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Net » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:12 pm

I always use fairly lean mince. Then there's no need to skim any fat off. It sounds like yours is good quality and is therefore lean anyway.

I use plain flour which your side of the pond is 'all purpose'. This thickens the gravy and makes it tastier.

It does need salt though, salt in moderation is OK.

For mash I add semi skimmed milk (2% fat). I do mine with a potato ricer which seems to make potatoes creamy. I'll sometimes add cheese to cottage pie but not to shepherds.
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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby annmarie » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:37 pm

I'd second Net on the lean mince - what fat there is I use to cook some onion in the pan with it, but then my cottage pies definitely have a touch of the Mediterranean ... Cottage Pie, sunny style??
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Re: What's the secret to a good shepherds pie?

Postby Tracey » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:31 am

I know it is a old thread, but had missed it before. :daze:
Mine is a bit of a throw it all in job. Kinda like feeding the 5000, not a single portion thing & a recipe i have made up, so totally not traditional. I supose in some ways it is a cross between vegi & normal.
I brown the mince (beef ) & diced onions then drain if needed. add some garlic, fry little more,
add a tin chopped tomatoes, frozen peas, sweetcorn, tin of baked beans, 2 grated carrots ( Son & Bf claim they don't like carrots, but they never know, this way they are hidden :wst )stock cube, Mixed herbs,salt, pepper, handful of red lentils, dash of Worcestershire sauce, splodge or red sauce & brown sauce. simmer for 20-30 mins, sometimes add a little cornflour mixed with water at the end if it needs thickening, but lentils help with that anyway.
Mash I add a bit of salt, pepper, mustard, I mash using my kenwood style mixer, sometimes add a little grated cheese, but normally just top with grated cheese & cook in the oven.
It makes plenty & I tend to put a couple in the freezer.
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