A tale of two Shepherds Pies

Shepherd Pie

Hi folks! It’s a chilly one here in Ireland now and it is only going to get colder from here on in so to beat the chill its hearty comfort food time…. One of the best comfort foods ever is Shepherds Pie but not just any Shepherds Pie it is two pies in one! But first I have a quick tale from my week. I am doing a business course online (which I am loving!) and there is a section in it called Failure Olympics –  it’s a section that prepares you for failure, even in small doses. So the assignment was ‘Negotiate a discount for a Coffee / Tea’ – it took me three weeks YES three weeks to complete this. My reasons were a) I was scared (what a wuss you’re thinking) and b) I actually hadn’t been anywhere to order a coffee for a while (that’s just an excuse though right?!) So here is the full conversation that happened in the coffee shop…..

Me: Hi
Waitress: Hello
Me: Can I get a skinny cappuccino with no chocolate please
Waitress: Sure
Me: Can I get a 10% discount too
Waitress: (puzzled look on face)Do you work here?
Waitress 2: Snorts a laugh and walks in to the back
Me: (Smiling) No
Waitress: Hmmm strange, OK that will be €2.70 please (10% discount applied – score!!)
Me: Thanks, I am doing a course and its one of the assignments
Waitress: I am doing a course too
Me: Bet you don’t have an assignment like that?
Waitress: Eh no (laughing)

I would like to say I felt liberated and happy enough that I would do it again BUT I could feel my face burning red and could not wait to get out of there. I just felt SO embarrassed!

Anyway enough of my ramblings back to The Shepherds Pie or is it Cottage Pie? Traditionally Shepherds Pie is made with ground lamb mince and Cottage Pie with ground beef. In my opinion the Cottage Pie mince filling is also a lot more tomato-y (is that a word?) while the Shepherds pie meat filling is brown, similar to a traditional stew colour. Now this is my opinion so it’s not gospel 🙂 I still call my dish Shepherds Pie and have always made it with lean steak mince. Please use lamb if you prefer and call it whatever you like, haha! One half of my pie is going to have the traditional Potato Topping and the other is going to have a non-traditional Butternut Squash Topping. I saw a recipe on Cavegirl Cuisine using cauliflower and parsnips topping on her cottage pie, that looks awesome too. If you’re thinking of trying the Paleo diet/lifestyle, check out her website.


  • 500g Lean Steak Mince
  • Spray Oil / Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion – diced
  • 2-3 Carrots – diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove – crushed
  • Tbsp cornflour / arrowroot
  • Splash Red Wine
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 250ml Beef Stock
  • 10-15 shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2-3 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • 5-6 Medium Potatoes – cut in to large chunks
  • Half a Butternut Squash – cut in to large chunks
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Butter (I use Flora Light)


Heat a large saucepan on a medium high heat and dry fry the steak mince until browned. Drain the meat in a colander – sometimes there wont be any fat to come out, which is great!

Add the oil to the pan and turn down to a medium heat. Saute the onions and carrots until softened but not browned, then add the garlic. Turn the heat to low as you do not want to burn the garlic as it will make it bitter

Add the mince back in to the pan and add the cornflour, mix the cornflour in well (this will help thicken the sauce)

Add the red wine, let it cook reduce down by at least half then add Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, thyme and some pepper. Bring to the boil and turn to a low heat and let it simmer for 35-45 minutes


While the mince it simmering place the potatoes in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until cooked. Drain the potatoes put back in to the pan and on to a low heat to remove any moisture. Add one teaspoon of dijon, one tablespoon of butter, sea salt and pepper and mash

For the butternut squash mash place the squash in a pan and add boiling water. Cook until tender but not too soft. Drain the squash put back in to the pan and on to a low heat to remove any moisture. Add one teaspoon of dijon, one tablespoon of butter, sea salt and pepper and mash

Put the mince in to your dish, I ike to let it cool a little as a film forms and it acts like a kind of barrier so the potato and squash mash wont seep in to the mince

Steak Mince

Add the potato to one side and butternut squash to the other side. Seal with the back of a spoon and then line and make small peaks with a fork

Shepherds Pie

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160’c for 40 minutes then turn the heat up and bake at 200’c for a further 40 minutes Place under the grill to get browner if required

Serve with petit pois, nom nom!

Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie


What would you call this – Shepherds Pie or Cottage Pie?

How do you feel about asking for discounts?

Have you got any embarrassing or funny stories from the last week?


4 thoughts on “A tale of two Shepherds Pies

  1. Pingback: SexyMoxieMama’s Hearty Crock Pot Beef Stew | Sexy Moxie Mama

  2. Pingback: Sexy Moxie Mama

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s