Thursday 14 November 2013


Shepherd's pie is a meat casserole cooked with vegetables and minced meat ( lamb or mutton),  also known as Cottage Pie ( when cooked with minced Beef). It is then baked in the oven with a layer of delicious mash of potatoes. This tasty and healthy meat pie dish gets it's nutrients from the meat which is an excellent source of  protein and iron, and the veggies add to the vitamin elements. If you wish you may even add 1/2 cup of cooked split red lentils to make it even more nutritious and filling.You may also use sweet potato mash to layer instead of normal potatoes as an alternative. The potato mash imparts a beautiful creamy and mushy texture to this dish. This pie dish is a meal on it’s own and ideal for the whole family. This dish can be served with a side of salad or some crusty bread. Sneak in any combination of veggies grated or chopped, doesn't matter!
The name and recipe idea for this dish is from: "The Yummy Scrummy In Your Tummy Cook Book" by Sophie Toomey. This book was my bible when  my daughter had first started on her solids at her 6 months of age The original recipe from the book is right here. It is suitable for babies from 9 -12 months of age. Before preparing this dish for your child please carefully check with your babies dietary requirement or allergies if any.
To make Shepherd's Pie you will need:
Lamb or Beef Mince:1 cup (lightly rinse and clean the mince under thin stream of running water)
5-6 spring onions finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped  or crushed
1/2 cup each carrot and zucchini grated
1 stick of celery (finely chopped)
4-5 button mushrooms grated or chopped coarsely(optional)
1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh. Soak frozen peas in hot water for 5 mins, drain and set aside.
1/2 small cup red and green capsicum finely chopped
2 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil 
2 tablespoon any tomato base pasta sauce
1/2 cup canned, diced or crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon juice of lemon
250 ml chicken stock or 1 chicken stock cube.
Herbs of your choice. I used handful of finely chopped basil and 1/2 teaspoon of dry italian herb mix. Coriander and parsley is also good to be used in this dish.
To make:
Step 1 : Heat butter  or olive oil onto your pan. Add garlic and spring onion. Cook until the spring onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.
Step 2: Add mushrooms. Fry until the mushrooms start to soften a bit. 
Step 3: Add minced meat and fry until brown. Lightly mash the mince with the back of your spoon to break any lumps .
Step 4: Add grated vegetables and capsicum. Cook  for 5 mins.
Step 5: Add the tomato sauce and  the tomatoes.
Step 6: Add all sauce and chicken stock. If using a stock cube add it now and then add enough water (200 -250 ml) for the meat to cook. We DO NOT want a dry meat mixture. Add more water or stock if necessary. The meat and veggie mixture must still remain slightly runny before we transfer it into a baking dish. Or else, the pie will dry out too much on baking.
Step7: Sprinkle with herbs. Cover and cook for 10-15 mins on medium heat.
Step8:Add lemon juice.
Step 9:Divide meat mixture into 4 oven proof dishes. Fill in 3/4 of each dish with the meat mixture. Stir in frozen peas to each .

For the Potato Mash you will need:
4-5 medium sized cooked potatoes mashed or grated( grating will ensure smoother texture)
1/2 tablespoon warm butter and olive oil
4-5 tablespoon warm milk 
White or black pepper for seasoning
finely chopped green onions and grated cheese for garnish (parmesan or tasty cheddar)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Gently mix mashed potato with butter, milk and season with pepper according to taste. Do not over beat  the mash or else it will turn very gooey. Adding butter helps the mash to remain moist and fluffy. Milk adds to the creamier texture. When cooking for my little ones I usually avoid using much salt in their food. However if you wish you may season with very little salt keeping in mind that the cheese that you add as a garnish will also have salt to some degree. Making sure there are no lumps, spread the mash evenly to cover and seal the meat mixture. Drizzle olive oil. Sprinkle with cheese and green onions on top.
Bake in the Oven at 200 degrees for at least 10 mins or until the surface starts to brown. If you do not wish to bake in the oven for any reason you may even serve by mixing the potato mash with the meat mixture. In that case cook the meat for a little longer. This will tenderize the meat and impart more flavour. Cool and Serve. Remember to check temperature before serving. 
This recipe is suitable for toddlers 12 months plus and older kids as well. I have included mushroom in this recipe you may completely ignore adding if your child is allergic to mushrooms. For a little sweet twist in this recipe you may even try adding grated or cooked apple as a substitute to any of the veggies. I  usually make this pie when my little ones had enough of pasta, rice and soup.  It is a family favourite of mine and soon going to be your's!!!
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With deep care

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