How much does it cost? This recipe cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? The ingredients in this shepherd’s pie allow for at least one of your five a day along with being low in sugar and loaded with antioxidants.
Why haven’t I knocked up a shepherd’s pie recipe before?! I’ve been eating it my entire life and it’s one of the very, very few recipes that my whole household will happily wolf down to this day.
It’s just brilliant comfort food, isn’t it? Piles of creamy mash, rich mince and earthy vegetables; it’s the epitome of British cuisine, hideously underrated (in my opinion) and something this little island should be very proud of – which is a rarity when it comes to us Brits and our food!
I first learnt how to make shepherd’s pie from an old uni cookbook. I’ve changed things up since then, but still tried to stick with the original recipe’s same simplicity; minimal ingredients, minimal costs.
This dish cost me just shy of 75p per person; however, this can vary. If you want to reduce fat you can opt for the low-fat mince but, be warned, it’ll set you back around £1.10 per person. For a cheaper way to keep prices low, try using meat-free mince – most supermarkets do their own brand versions now and it could bring this recipe down to just 65p per person, so it’s worth considering.
At this point you might be thinking, okay, sure, shepherd’s pie is great and everything, but what are the nutritional benefits? Well, there are some in there, hidden away between layers of mash and mince. Did you know, for example, that potatoes are bursting with antioxidants which help keep our bodies fit and healthy? Also, shepherd’s pie is low in sugar, goes towards your five a day, and is a great balance of carbohydrates that leave you feeling full.
Oh, one more thing – I know shepherd’s pie is meant to be made with lamb and cottage pie with beef, but I only ever knew of shepherd’s pie growing up and honestly can’t be bothered to faff about with the difference now!
4 Large Jacket Potatoes, Peeled & Cubed
500g Mince (low fat if possible, or meat-free alternative)
2 Small Onions, Chopped
2 Carrots, Chopped
1 tbsp (heaped) Gravy Granules
1 Beef Stock Cube
1 Mug of Water
As always, you want to throw in a few dried garlic flakes (fresh if you’ve got it) with the onions, and then season the meat with mixed herbs, salt and pepper. For the mashed potatoes, again, you’ll want a good dose of salt and pepper, along with some dried parsley.
So, this is how I did it…
1. In a large pan of salted water, add the peeled potatoes. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
2. Meanwhile, add the garlic, onion and carrot to a large frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mince and fry until browned.
3. Add to the frying pan one mug of water, then the gravy granules, stock cube and mixed herbs. Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the mince has cooked through and most of the liquid has gone – but make sure it doesn’t dry out.
4. Drain the potatoes, season with salt, pepper and parsley, and mash with your choice of butter, spread or milk. I usually start mashing with a tablespoon of spread and top it up with small splashes of milk as I go.
5. Pour the mince filling into a large ovenproof dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. Split into four, serve and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- It’s really easy to make this suitable for vegetarians; simply swap the mince for a meat-free alternative, use onion or vegetable gravy granules instead of beef and change the meat stock cube for a vegetable one. Done!
- Sprinkling a little cheddar cheese in with the mashed potato (and then a little more on top of the mash just before it goes in the oven if you fancy it) is a delicious addition. A small teaspoon of English mustard in the mash also adds great flavour.
- If you can’t spare any butter, spread or milk for the potatoes, just add splashes of water at small intervals while you mash instead. It probably won’t be as creamy, but it is a great money-saving tip.