Shepherd’s Pie



  • 3 small russet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • 1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 medium parsnips, diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 31f

Begin by starting on the potato crust. Boil a large stock pot of water. While that’s heating up, chop up the potatoes. Cut each potato in half and cut each half into four about equally-sized pieces. I peeled the potatoes because I was thinking about how the final photos would look, but you can skip this step and leave the skins on if you’d like.



So, here’s the easiest way to cut cauliflower that I’ve found: Hold the cauliflower on its side and cut down toward the cutting board, removing as much of the outer leaves as you can.

After you’ve chopped off all of the leaves and inner stalk, just cut any large pieces so they’re about equally-sized.


Place the potatoes and cauliflower into a steamer basket over the boiling pot of water you started. Allow everything to cook until the vegetables are fork tender.

While the vegetables are steaming away, shred some sharp cheddar.


Why sharp cheddar? Using a cheese with a strong flavor such as sharp or extra sharp cheddar means you can use less and still get a ton of cheesy flavor in every bite. More flavor for less fat and calories, in other words.


Next, chop up some chives. I love chives – they’ve got healthy nutrients like vitamins A and C, they have no fat and calories, and they add such a delicious layer of flavor to the potatoes.


The easiest way to prepare them is to cut quarter-inch pieces using kitchen shears. If you don’t have shears, your knife will also work.


When your vegetables are fork-tender, put them into a large mixing bowl and add about 3/4 of the grated cheddar and 3/4 of the chopped chives. Be sure to season well with salt and pepper.


While the meat is browning, mince up some garlic and dice one onion.


And add them to the saute pan to allow them to cook and soften. Season with salt and pepper.

Next chop up some carrots and parsnips. I suggest using three of each in the complete recipe (below), but feel free to use more (as I did) if you’d like. The more you use, the more healthy fiber and vitamins you get in each serving.

Have you tried cooking with parsnips this winter? They look like white carrots and they have a distinct sweet flavor. In terms of nutrition, they’re low-calorie with lots of nutrients including vitamin C, folate, potassium, as well as fiber.

Prepare them just as you would carrots by peeling them, cutting off both ends, and dicing them.
One note: if you happen to buy especially large parsnips, you may want to remove the core because it can be a bit tough and chewy.
My parsnips were medium-sized so they didn’t need the core removed, but here’s how just to demonstrate:

Cut them in half lengthwise. Place one half, flat-side-down on the cutting board for stability and quarter it. You’ll be able to see the darker color of the core – holding each quarter, flat-side down on the cutting board for stability, cut out the core.
Again, you only need to do this if the parsnips you bought are especially large. Otherwise, skip this step and just chop them up as you would the carrots.


Add the diced carrots and parsnips to the saute pan and cook for about 5 minutes, allowing them to soften.

Now add the red wine and allow that to simmer and reduce down until you’re left with a thickened sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next, remove the thyme sprigs and spoon the meat mixture into a large casserole dish. Add some frozen corn and stir to combine.

Top with the potato-cauliflower mash, spreading it all across the top of the dishimg_3397
Sprinkle the remaining cheddar you set aside earlier across the top. This will help the crust brown nicely on top.
Now place the casserole dish under the broiler for about 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the crust begins to turn a light golden brown.