Lamb & Lentil Healthy Shepherd's Pie
This healthy shepherd’s pie recipe, packed full of vegetables, earthy green lentils and a well seasoned, herby lamb mince, will happily feed a crowd. Or why not split the recipe, and stash one pie in the freezer for another easy meal.
To cook the lentils
- 230 g (1 1/4 cups) small green French (Puy) lentils
- 1 bay leaf
For the filling
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or ghee
- 2 large onions diced
- 3 large carrots (approx 2 1/2 cups) diced
- 400 g (5 cups) mushrooms diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
- 500 g (1 lb) minced lamb
- 2 Tablespoons plain flour
- 400 ml (1 3/4 cups) vegetable or lamb stock
- 400 g (14oz) canned crushed tomatoes
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt & Pepper
For the topping
- 1 kg (2 lb) potatoes peeled and roughly chopped.
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 60 ml (1/3 cup) milk plus extra if required
- Salt & Pepper
To cook the lentils
If the lentils have been soaked overnight (see Note 1), rinse and drain them.
Place the lentils in a medium saucepan, add the bay leaf, and cover the lentils with cold water.
Bring the lentils to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes (soaked) to 20 minutes (unsoaked), or until the lentils are just soft enough to be crushed between your fingers.
Drain the lentils, retain the bay leaf, and set aside.
To make the filling
Add the oil and onions to a large fry pan with a lid (or a large dutch oven) over a medium heat.
Saute the onions for 10 minutes, or until softened and browned.
Add the carrots and saute for a further 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, and saute for a further 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened.
Stir in the garlic and the chopped rosemary, and saute for a further minute.
Stir the lamb mince into the vegetables, and cooking for a further 3 minutes, or until the meat is lightly browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the meat and vegetable mixture, stir through, and cook for a further minute. It may be necessary to scrape the bottom of the pan if the meat starts to stick.
Gently pour in the stock, stirring it through the meat and vegetables, and simmer gently until the mixture slightly thickens.
Add the remainder of the ingredients, including the drained lentils and the reserved bay leaf.
Season with salt & pepper, and bring the mixture to the boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture thickens too much, stir in a little water.
To make the topping
Whilst the filling is cooking, boil or steam the potatoes until quite soft. I prefer to steam my potatoes using a steaming basket in a large saucepan.
Drain the potatoes, and allow them to sit without a lid for two minutes to allow them to dry slightly.
Add the butter and milk to the saucepan, and season with salt and pepper.
Mash the potatoes together with the butter and milk. If the mixture seems too stiff, add a little more milk. You are aiming for a smooth mash that can be spread across the top of the pie.
To assemble the pie
Remove the thyme sprigs from the meat mixture. Discard.
Spoon the filling into the bottom of the casseroles dish(es).
Top the filling with the mashed potato. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. At this point I like to rough up the top of the mash with a fork, which will brown in the heat of the oven.
The pies can be frozen at this point. *
If serving immediately, cook the pie at 200C (180C fan forced) for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until the top has browned and the filling is bubbling up the side.
Serve with a simple salad or steamed vegetables.
- It is not essential to soak the lentils, but doing so will decrease the cooking time.
- ^ The pie will be gluten free if you use a gluten free plain flour.
- Shepherd's pie can be cooked from frozen, however I find it cooks more evenly if you defrost it first. If cooking from frozen, add an extra 30- 40 minutes to the cooking time and cover the baking dish with foil for the first 30 minutes.
- Assemble the shepherd's pie in one large (up to 4L/4 quarts) or two medium sized (2L/2 quarts) baking dishes.
- The shepherd's pie can be assembled up to two days in advance and kept in the fridge until required.
- Freeze uncooked shepherd's pie for up to four months if well wrapped.
Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.5g | Protein: 24.3g | Fat: 12.9g | Cholesterol: 55.5mg | Sodium: 300.8mg | Sugar: 8.9g | Vitamin A: 1000IU | Calcium: 290mg