The Professional Shepherd’s Pie

Hubby was watching a professional chef on Youtube this morning making a shepherd’s pie. He was so taken with it, he bookmarked the page so that I could watch it. Somehow he knew what my reaction would be, and apparently I didn’t disappoint.
What follows is my opinion of his take on this simple dish………….
Mr Chef used two and a half pounds of beef which he minced himself (we didn’t have to watch that bit), plus onions, diced carrots, mushrooms, frozen peas, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, cheese (3 sorts), garlic, mashed potatoes (not seen made), salt, garlic salt and herbs.
In comparison, I use 200g minced beef (5% fat) a large onion, about 200g frozen mixed veg or a tin of baked beans, a stock cube, mashed potatoes and grated cheese or a crumbled slice of bread for topping.

He used 2 large flat frying pans, placing about 25g (9 syns) of butter in each, one for the minced beef and one for the onions. The other ingredients were in various bowls.  He added the mushrooms, diced carrot and frozen peas to the onions, and the tomatoes and puree to the minced beef, together with some flour (over his workspace too). We didn’t have to watch the food cooking and he came back after about quarter of an hour.
The minced beef was not caramelizing, so we had to wait some more (the joys of editing) then he added more flour, and loads of garlic salt to both pans ‘for flavour’. He suddenly realised he hadn’t added the garlic, so did so and we had to wait again.
He then transferred the contents of both frying pans into a large pan and mixed well.
I did not see him add a stock cube, but he did add some liquid stock he had in reserve.
In comparison, I use a medium sized saucepan to cook the beef in a little water until no longer raw, then add the onion and remainder of my ingredients with a stock cube and continue to cook for about five to ten minutes on a low heat, making sure it doesn’t dry out or ‘catch’.

Mr Chef lines the bottom of a large rectangular baking dish with mashed potatoes, having added butter, salt and pepper when preparing them. He flattens it out, then taking a ladle, spoons the meat mix onto the base. He then realises that he hadn’t added the cheese so using two large spatulas, removes the beef mix to rectify his omission.
He uses grated cheddar here and generously covers the potatoes (I would say about 100g as it was a lot more than the 30g I have as one of my A options). The meat mix was then put on the top of the potato base, more garlic salt added, and finally he pipes mashed potato over the top of the mix. Rather than leave the lines from his piping, he flattens the potato and then getting a fork, makes wavy lines (very pretty, not, and the piping pattern was better IMO). He then tops the lot with more grated cheddar, some Parmesan and a third cheese I can’t remember the name of. This then goes in the oven for 40 minutes.
In comparison, I tip the contents of the pan into my baking dish, put the mashed potatoes on top (I use instant with no butter added and don’t apologise for it), ‘peaking it’ with two forks, then add the grated cheese allowance (or bread) on top. It goes in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes so we agreed on something.
When his dish comes out of the oven, he sprinkles some herbs on the top and says it’s very hot (you think?) so will be difficult to get the first piece out. He suggests that it is left to cool as it cuts better cold, then you can reheat it. WTF? If I had just spent almost 2 hours preparing a meal, I would not be letting it get cold to cut prettily to sit on a plate and then be reheated! I want to eat it, hot, not take its photograph or get its autograph (OK yeah, I used to photograph my meals as it helped with portion control……. these are without extra topping left and bread topping right).

As he had used both mixed veg and tomatoes in his layered pie, I would see this more as a shepherd’s lasagna but without the pasta and cheese sauce.
OK, his would have served at least 6 whereas mine can provide three portions, but mine would have cost a fraction of his, is more diet friendly, and I would like to think more tasty as it would not be bogged down with salts, butter or fatty cheeses.
But hey, I’m always cooking on a budget and watching my weight, but if you like things like this, then go for it.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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18 Responses to The Professional Shepherd’s Pie

  1. I make mine with mashed potatoes, hamburger, peas, carrots, onions, topped with gravy and cheese. I guess they’re all good

  2. I found most of the recipes I see in books are too large for most families. I read many to see how you could make GF. Joanne Fluke’s books have a lot of recipes. But are too large and use a lot of butter. Many are for cookies which you can use for a large family. I had the best green beans for my lunch today.
    There is a dog that wanders around the building for I get the dog fix.

    • I’m always cooking on a budget but confess we don;t seem to eat such large portions as we used to.
      I had several puppy fixes today Bettylouise. We still miss Maggie so much.

  3. Fandango says:

    I have to admit that I’ve never had a shepherd’s pie, but this does sound good.

  4. KL Caley says:

    He sounds like he was faffing about more than cooking. I think I cook mine similar to yours although sometimes add lentils to go a bit further and we get our veg and potatoes from our lottie when we can. KL ❤️

    • He was a messy chef, and so many pots, pans and bowls for something that could be made in one or two. I use tomatoes with the minced beef and onions for lasagna, chili (add red kidney beans) or spaghetti bolognese, sometimes adding a finely chopped carrot, but have never used everything in a shepherd’s pie. No reason why not of course, but it seemed an awful lot of pans, bother and time.

  5. murisopsis says:

    Yep. So many chefs think that if you complicate a simple dish then it will be better. A simple dish that is easy to make, tastes good, and is healthy is beautiful. No need for extravagant preparations (why add an hour to the prep just to grind your own beef or mash potatoes??), and then you get the ones that have you use exotic ingredients! *gasp* I’m stepping of my soap box as this really hit a nerve! I was looking at different YouTube videos for recipes recently and was astounded by the desire to make things as difficult as possible!!

  6. Sadje says:

    Easy, economical and diet friendly is the best way to go.

  7. I’ve never had a cottage pie or shepherd’s pie. Yours sounds yummier and much less of a mess.

  8. Cathy Cade says:

    I’m with you – although I throw fresh veg in mine, chopped fine. Hubby won’t eat anything green (except peas) and only eats onion or carrots if they’re invisible, so, 1) shepherd’s pie is a way to get him to eat them, and 2) I always have veg bought for me that needs using up.
    I throw in a good portion of red lentils too. They disappear and make the meat go further.
    I use baked beans as well – hubby loves them and the sauce adds tomoto-y-ness.

    • Cathy Cade says:

      My first husband was a chef. Whenever he cooked for six of us, he made enough mess for sixty. He was used to a kitchenful of staff clearing up after him. I often pointed out there was only one of me.

      • I try to keep the mess and utensils to a minimum. One of my foster kids wanted to be a chef so I bought him a hat and a piny and let him loose in the kitchen. I wasn’t far away to lend a hand, but he did OK and not too much mess either. His mother could not believe I’d done that, but then she had no idea what he wanted to do when he left school, so it was an eye opener for her.

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