Shepherd’s Pie

I used to believe shepherd’s pie was the poor man’s pasta bake. All the boring bits, none of the good stuff (i.e. the crispy pasta on top that got a little burnt in the oven that my sister and I used to fight over). When I moved out of home and started cooking every night of the week however, I realised that everyone needs a dish like shepherd’s pie. Dependable, quick and easy. Something you can whip up without having to think about it too much. Despite this, I still wasn’t happy to settle for an average meal.

The difference with this shepherd’s pie lies in how you treat the potatoes. As you would know from my Crash Hot Potato Recipe, I ain’t no fan of mashed potato. So why ruin a perfectly good bolognese base with mashed potato? Much better to spice things up a bit with slices of potato that hold their shape, go crispy golden in the oven and take an old-school dish and make it a new fave.

Wanna make it even more fancy? Serve your pies in ramekins so everyone gets an equal amount of potatoey, cheesy goodness and no one’s fighting over who got more topping.

Overall, the cooking and preparation time is much the same. I found that the time I took to slice my potatoes (with my awesome V-slicer) and cook them in the oven is the same as I previously would have spent peeling, boiling and mashing them. But the result is absolutely worth any extra effort. It’s taken this meal from a last resort to one of my first picks when thinking about dinners for the week.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try and if it ranks higher in your books than old school shepherd’s pie!

Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 3 pies


  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1 jar passata
  • 500 g beef mine
  • 2 cups cheese of choice


  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (Celsius) fan forced.

  2. Using a V-slicer or a knife, slice your potatoes thinly and spread over a baking tray. Bake until tender.

  3. While the potatoes are cooking, make your bolognese sauce. Chop vegetables and cook in a saucepan until soft. Add beef mince and brown. Stir in passata and season.

  4. Divide the bolognese mixture between 3 large ramekins.

  5. Top each pie with layers of potato slices. Return to the oven for 20 minutes to continue cooking the potato. At this point, turn the oven up to 200 degrees (Celsius).

  6. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the potato and return the pies to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.

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