Saucy Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe developed and contributed by Maureen Gualtieri

As the weather gets colder, it’s time to get hearty in the kitchen! The impending holiday season will bring plenty of richness, so why not start slow with a lean, vegetable-packed shepherd’s pie, full of tart tomatoey flavour, and the spicy punch of DFC’s Subtly Sweet & Tangy Not Just BBQ Sauce. Speaking of sauce, there is a lot of it in this recipe; I love the stuff and would stand over a simmering pot just spooning it up if I could. If you’re less of a sauce monster than I, increasing both the quantity of beef and the size of your casserole by half will net you a more standard ratio. Dig into this English favourite while hot from the oven, and serve big scoops next to a crunchy salad, or the traditional side of green peas.

Saucy Shepherd’s Pie

(Yield: 1 9-inch pie, 6-8 servings)

600 g (about 4 or 5) medium red potatoes

1/4 c. milk, any percentage

3 tbsp butter

salt and black pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

350 g vegetarian “ground beef” alternative, or lean ground beef

300 g (about 2 cups) of your favourite frozen vegetables

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 796 ml can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp black pepper

1/3 c. DFC’s Subtly Sweet & Tangy Not Just BBQ Sauce

salt to taste

Cut your potatoes into large chunks, and boil in plenty of salted water until tender when pierced with a fork. (I think red potato peels look pretty and add texture, so I choose not to peel them. If you want a more homogeneous mash, peel away.) Drain well, then mash with milk, butter, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Drizzle in your olive oil, then add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden (about 5 minutes). Raise the heat to medium-high, then add the veggie ground beef, and cook until browned, breaking it up vigorously with your spatula as you go, about 10 minutes. (If using regular beef, omit the olive oil and brown the beef in a dry pan first. Drain all but about 1 tbsp of fat, then add the onions and garlic, and follow the rest of the recipe from there.)

Add your frozen vegetables, and sauté until they thaw and the water they release cooks off. Clear a spot in the middle of your pan, and dollop in the tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste around the cleared centre until it changes colour and starts giving off a savoury aroma, about 2 minutes. Add in diced tomatoes, spices, and DFC’s Subtly Sweet & Tangy Not Just BBQ Sauce. Stir well , drop the heat to low, and let everything simmer for 10 minutes.

Set out a 9-inch round or square casserole, and fill it with your gravy and meat mixture. Top with an even layer of mashed potatoes, smoothing them out to make a solid lid. Bake for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and the filling bubbles up around the edges. Serve piping hot, with a crunchy Caesar salad on the side.

For this hearty, juicy shepherd’s pie, you’ll need the following ingredients: Canned diced tomatoes, your favourite frozen veggies, tomato paste, vegetarian ground beef alternative or ground real beef, onion, garlic, dried thyme and rosemary, paprika, milk, salt, pepper, butter, DFC’s Subtly Sweet & Tangy Not Just BBQ Sauce (Not pictured: potatoes, because I goofed and already started them boiling!)
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