Cooking

Lightened Up Shepherd's Pie

February 7, 2020

    A lightened up version of shepherd's pie, great for those watching their figure as well as for big family gatherings. 



    What kind of foods do you like the most? Are you into that fancy-shmancy restaurant looking dishes or do you prefer a good old sloppy burger? I myself am more into the sloppy/messy/ugly foods, as they allow me to feel much more relaxed in the process. 


    The shepherd's pie, for me, is one of those comfort family-style dishes that warms my heart, soul, and tummy but the thing is that they can get quite heavy on the calories. Though there are loads of shepherd's pie recipes online, this one turned out to be one of my favorite because I can easily fit it into my somewhat restricted daily calorie intake while having a delicious, balanced meal at the same time.








    How to make the recipe lighter?

    To make this recipe lighter I have swapped the traditional red meat for some chicken breast mince. I think turkey mince will do just fine as well but chicken is much more affordable where I live. Don't be afraid of it turning out dry as there will be some wet ingredients to balance everything out. I sneak in as many vegetables as I can, to the mix to fill it up with some of those much-needed nutrients as well as exclude heavy fats.


    How to choose the right potatoes?

The best potato variety for mashing I found to be those medium-sized round ones, with light-yellow skin and white on the inside, as it is very crumbly, tender and cooks very fast. Big potatoes have a bit of less fragrant taste to them.


    Tips:

  • If you want it to be a meal prep meal, but you want it to be fresh from the oven as well, assemble them into individual baking dishes like these and pop them into the freezer. Pull them out ahead of time to defrost and cook as advised below.

  • Have leftovers? The freezer is your friend here as well.

  • Don't leave mashed potatoes longer than 2-3 weeks in the freezer as it can change its texture, especially if you add butter.

  • The best way to add chili flakes is the OMG style. You accidentally add too much of them, then try to take out as much as possible from the mixture. Trust me, this is the one and only method.

  • Cut the potatoes in halves and quarters to cook them faster.




SHEPHERD'S PIE INGREDIENTS (for 6 servings)


For the mashed potatoes:

1,5 kg white potatoes

250 ml 2.5% warm cow milk (you can choose any other milk if you prefer dairy-free)

Salt and pepper to taste


For the filling:

500 gr chicken breast mince

1 large carrot

1 large onion

200 gr frozen green peas

200 gr frozen corn

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 tbsp oil

Salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste

2 bay leaves


COOKING METHOD


  1. Chop up the onions and fry them in a large frying pan until translucent with a tbsp of oil. 

  2. Add the chopped or grated carrot to the frying pan and half a cup of water. Cook the carrots for 5 min on medium heat.

  3. At the same time boil the potatoes until you can cut through them with the knife easily. Depending on their size, it should take about 15-20 min after the water has boiled.

  4. Add the mince to the frying pan and cook it until slightly brown, stirring occasionally for better consistency.

  5. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and chili flakes and cook for another 10-15 min.

  6. When the potatoes become tender, drain most of the water, leaving about half a cup inside.

  7. Mash the potatoes adding the salt, pepper to taste and stir in the milk. Set aside.

  8. Assemble the dish and meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C.

  9. Take a big baking dish if you are planning to cook the whole batch or smaller ones if you plan to freeze some portions.

  10. Add the frozen veggies and the cooked mince to the baking dish, mixing them all together and top the mixture with your mashed potatoes. I like making some swirls on tom to get crispy bits. This is the time when you can let the mixture cool, cover it up and freeze for future use. 

  11. Cook the pie for 20-25 min until the top starts to brown a bit. If you are working with the frozen pie and forgot to defrost it ahead of time, cook it for about 40 min on 160C and 20-30 min more on 180C.

  12. Serve it hot.