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6 of the best... twists on the classic shepherd's pie for a cosy autumn meal

Go meatless, or double up on the cheese.

Image: Shutterstock/zoryanchik

AS KIDS, WE thought the idea of shepherds being made into a pie was incredibly funny. I’m slightly more grown up, now, but that old joke still raises a smile.

Shepherd jokes aside, shepherd’s pie now means cosy autumn nights in, eating a delicious meal that warms up the kitchen as it cooks. Even though this dish may be a much-demanded comfort food classic, you might be ready to change up your standard recipe this season. 

Here are six interesting takes on the classic shepherd’s pie – from a vegetarian version to a Greek-style feast. And of course, no shepherds were harmed in the making of these recipes.  

1. Shepherd’s Pie with garlic butter, from Darina Allen: Darina’s shepherd’s pie goes back to the dish’s origins – repurposing leftovers by using lamb and gravy from the previous day’s roast. This humble leftover pie is gilded by adding a dollop of garlic butter to melt into the crispy potato on top. It’s a simple twist that’s unbelievably good.

2. Annabel Langbein’s Cypriot Shepherd’s Pie, from Call Me Satch: The queen of New Zealand cooking, Annabel Langbein is known for putting a simple twist on familiar recipes. This gently spiced Cypriot shepherd’s pie is covered with a colourful carrot and parsnip mash.

3. Shepherd’s Pie with Champ Mash from Donal Skehan: If you think of champ as mashed potato with benefits, you won’t be too far off. Donal takes the classic and tops it off with a deliciously creamy potato and spring onion mixture. Irresistible!

shutterstock_1473782723 Source: Shutterstock/Oksana Mizina

4. Greek-Style Shepherd’s Pie, from Not Quite Nigella: Take all your favourite Greek flavours – feta, olives, oregano, lemon – and combine them into a salty-sweet-savoury-lemony shepherd’s pie with a mashed potato and feta topper. Lorraine uses shredded slow-roast lamb in this recipe for extra texture, but also gives directions for making the pie with minced meat.

5. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Shepherd’s Pie, from Wholesome Ireland: An especially good option for meatless Monday – or the end of the month when your grocery budget is all used up. Caitríona’s veggie and bean option is baked with potato and turnip mash and a handful of (optional, but who’s she fooling!) grated cheese, for some extra crusty deliciousness.

6. Whitefriar Grill’s Duck Shepherd’s Pie, from TheTaste.ie: We all know that real shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, but we couldn’t resist this decadent twist from Whitefriar Grill using duck legs that have been cooked in two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. Topped with carrot and parsnip gratin, it’s served at the restaurant in dinky little cast iron skillets – but no one will turn up their nose at this particular pie, no matter how it’s served.

More: 6 of the best… recipes for irresistibly crunchy chicken – without the deep fat fryer

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About the author:

Caroline Hennessy

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