Not your typical shepherd’s pie, this Indian spiced shepherd’s pie is flavor to the max with minced meat enhanced with curry spices, topped with a creamy fluffy mashed potato and baked till golden brown and delicious.
What is shepherd’s pie?
It’s a layer of cooked and spiced minced beef that’s topped with a mashed potato layer and baked until golden brown. You then cut slices out of this just like a casserole. It’s a traditional English dish, and is usually made with lamb. I used beef due to our family preferences, but you can use any red meat or even ground turkey.
Indian Spices in Shepherd’s Pie?
Yes! Because the Indian spices used in the meat mixture add SO MUCH FLAVOR. I always used to like the concept of a shepherd’s pie, but would always find it a little bland and hard to get excited about. We have something similar in Middle Eastern cuisine called batata souffle. I wanted something similar but with a more explosive flavor, so I started brainstorming and researching. I basically ended up adapting and combining two different recipes. This one for the meat, and this for the topping.
What is used to give all that flavor?
Ginger, garlic, and green chili pepper are sauteed in oil, then garam masala and paprika powder are added. The tomato sauce gets poured over this mixture, and completely infused with all those spices and herbs.
Also, the meat itself is cooked with red bell pepper and onion, and mixed with toasted cumin seeds (another big flavor star). I always add all spice or seven spices to my ground beef, then this gets mixed with the tomato sauce.
How to make the mashed potato topping?
The best part of the mashed potatoes on top is how creamy they are. I outlined several tips to help you achieve this:
Cube the Potatoes evenly so they cook through at the same time.
Add the potato cubes to cold water that you then heat so they cook through evenly. I explain this in more detail in this delicious recipe here.
Drain and return potatoes to saucepan to further evaporate any water, mash evenly, and add WARM cream and butter to them.
Add an egg yolk to the mashed potato mixture to bind it together and give it a golden color when baking.
Can I substitute lamb for the ground beef?
Can I make this more/less spicy?
Yes, to make it more spicy, dice up the green chili you add to the ground beef. To make it less spicy, omit it all together. Keep in mind, the recipe as written isn’t very spicy, my 4 year old ate it without a word.
Can I omit the egg yolk in the mashed potatoes?
Yes you can, just put a few pats of butter on top before baking to get a golden look.
Can I make and freeze the shepherd’s pie?
Yes, for up to two months tightly covered, you can assemble the pie and freeze it, or assemble bake and freeze it. You can heat/cook it directly from frozen.
You can also assemble the Indian spiced shepherd’s pie up to two days in advance and keep it in the fridge before baking.
Indian Spiced Shepherd’s Pie
For the tomato sauce:
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 1 tbsp minced peeled ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 green chili pepper, seeded and diced finely
- 1 tsp masala powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 can tomato sauce (14.5oz or 400 g)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 green chili pepper, whole
- salt and pepper to taste
For the meat:
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 500 g ground beef (1 lb)
- 1 tsp seven spices or all spice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
For the mashed potatoes:
- 700 g potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch cubes (1.5 lb)
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp butter (28 g)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 egg yolk
For the potatoes:
- Fill a large saucepan with cold water, add potatoes, place on high heat and cover until water comes to a boil.
- Once boiling, uncover the saucepan and decrease the heat to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender and easily crushed with a fork (around 15 minutes). You can continue on to your meat filling while the potatoes are cooking.
- Place the heavy cream and butter in a microwavable bowl, and microwave for around 30 seconds or until warmed through and butter is melted.
- Drain the potatoes into a colander, then return them to the saucepan, and mash them.
- Add the warmed cream and butter mixture, salt and pepper and mash until smooth. Cool mixture slightly and then stir in the egg yolk until well combined.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C (400F).
For the tomato sauce:
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the ginger, garlic and chili pepper and cook until they start to brown, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the garam masala and paprika and cook for a further 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
For the meat filling:
- In another skillet, add 1 to 2 tbsp oil. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for 10 seconds (watch carefully so they don't burn!), then add the onions and bell pepper and cook until softened and starting to brown about 5 minutes. Add the whole chili pepper and cook for another 2 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the ground beef and cook until brown, breaking up clumps constantly with a wooden spoon. Add seven spices, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the prepared tomato sauce to the meat mixture, stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the whole chili pepper, then stir in the honey and heavy whipping cream. Taste for seasoning.
- Place the meat in a layer in an ovenproof dish. Spoon the mashed potato mixture on top, and using a fork, run it over the mashed potatoes to form some decorative lines.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until potatoes have begun to brown and filling is bubbling and hot. You can choose to broil for the last few minutes in the oven to get a more golden brown top if desired.
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