So who doesn’t remember growing up having shepherds pie and loving it? Okay perhaps some of you didn’t have it – but I did, and I always loved it. For the last few years though I have tried to reduce the number of carbohydrates I consume so I switched to sweet potatoes from white potatoes (when I have potatoes which isn’t that often). The “twist” I learned from my friend Zannat (who’s blog I have reposted a number of times – food4happiness). The twist is to add lentils to your ground beef. It adds fibre, protein and increases the amount of the beef mixture so you get much more for very little extra cost. I happen to love lentils so this is perfect for me. I substituted white potatoes for sweet and didn’t use too too much on top so it still remains healthy and low fat.
1 lb of lean (I used extra lean) ground beef
1 tin of lentils (cooked)
1 cooking onion – chopped
1-1.5 cups of mixed frozen vegetables (add as much as you like really)
1 pint of mushrooms chopped (about 10-12 large)
1 egg whisked
4-5 sweet potatoes medium sized (add more if you want a thicker topping)
¼ cup of low fat yogurt
½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
A couple of dashes of ketchup (less than ¼ cup)
1 tsp of Harissa spice mix (if you don’t have just add a pinch of cumin and a tiny pinch of cardamon and a pinch of cinnamon – really only a tiny amount of each).
1 tbsp of chopped garlic – about 2-3 cloves
I don’t use salt but if you want you can add a pinch of salt
½ tsp of cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp of water or beef broth (not obligatory – this step just helps thicken the beef mixture and absorb some of the liquid)
3 tsp olive oil
Sauté a chopped onion till tender and slightly browned in 1 tsp of olive oil (I sometimes add a tsp of brown sugar to help caramelize the onion a bit). Add 1 more tsp of oil with the garlic, mushrooms and frozen vegetables once the onions are pretty much done. Sauté all together and add the broth and corn starch. Remove and put in a bowl for the time being.
Add beef and a tin of lentils to the pan along with the spices, ketchup, salt and pepper. Brown the meat with the lentils and then add back in the vegetables, onions and mushrooms and stir together. Add the egg and mix everything up.
While the meat is cooking, peel and cube the potatoes (try to make them even sized pieces so they will cook evenly). Microwave them in water until they are able to be pieced easily by a fork. You can also boil them if you prefer – if boiling then start the potatoes before the meat and vegetables.
Turn off the heat on the meat when all cooked and let sit in pan. Drain potato pieces into a bowl and add yogurt and parmesan cheese and whip using either a hand blender or a stand mixer. Using this type of equipment whips air into the potatoes and makes them a bit lighter. You can also do it by hand it just takes a bit longer and is more work. Once the potatoes are whipped taste and add seasoning as needed.
Put meat mixture into a deep dish and pat it down so it is firm. Then “frost” the top with the potato mixture as you would a cake. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees (F) to brown the top a bit and then serve. I made it in several containers as you can see in the picture and froze it so I had lots of meals from the one cooking session.