Shepherd's Pie ... proper Shepherd's Pie

What's "proper" about it, then?

Well, it's made with mutton and it's not ground/minced ... it's a piece of shoulder.

Mutton is from older sheep with a strong, fully developed flavour lending itself perfectly to slow cooking and simple flavours.

Several hours earlier ...

In the morning, simply lay your mutton shoulder in a large casserole dish, cover with water, add some salt, pepper, garlic and a bay leaf.

Set it slow cooking for the day ... 125C/250F for as many hours as you can.

Hours later ...

Retrieve the mutton joint and chop up roughly. Save the stock for later, excess for soup, skimming off as much fat as you can, reserving it for frying off the onions and mushrooms, excess stored in a ramekin in the fridge for later.

Fry off an onion and a good few mushrooms - I find chestnut mushroom perfect with this.

Return the chopped mutton, onion and mushrooms to the casserole dish.

Chop a couple of carrots and add to the dish.

More garlic and some herbs - I went with rosemary and marjoram.

Cover with stock and add a good splash of Worcestershire Sauce, a good couple of tablespoons of tomato purée, a little sea salt and some black pepper.

Pop back into the oven at a higher temperate for an hour, or so. 180C/350F is good. Ensure that the juice evaporates and thickens - we don't want a sloppy pie!

After a good hour, toss in some peas. You can skip this if peas are not part of your paleo template - they're more pod than legume; I'm okay with them every now and again.

Take a cauliflower, remove the stalks saving them for soup, cut up removing as much stalk as you can and get it steaming.

Once steamed, crush with a fork.

With the casserole fully reduced, spoon the crushed cauliflower over making a crust. Scatter some grated cheese over and pop under the grill/broiler for a few minutes.

Again, if cheese is not part of your paleo template, just skip it. If it is, great! I went with Gruyère.

Serve out into a bowl, dig in and enjoy! Warming, filling and a seriously hearty dish ...


  1. Awesome! I've had so many bad Shepard's pies I don't even it eat any more. All the ingredients look great together here though. Better than a layer of slop plus 7 inches of mash potato :-)

    1. Even better as leftovers, nuked at work ...

      Likewise, I often think of Shepherd's Pie as flavourless gristle with poor mash on top. I like potatoes and do eat them often, but I like to make the best of them. With such a hearty dish of good meat and robust, enhanced flavours, the simple cauli crust leaves those ingredients to do all the singing. The cheese just holds the crust together.

      I hope I've inspired you.

  2. Shepherds Pie you add the same sorts of things - mushrooms are a must in my eyes! Love those little fungi! So do the rest of the family. So tend to add them to lots of meat dishes. I can't get mutton :( lamb no problems. My butcher said he finds it hard to get his hands on any. So not sure what it's like. Maybe one day I might see some on my travels and get some into the kitchen to cook up! :D

    1. Hi Kate - I trust you're well. Mutton is just older. Over one year, I think. Either way, a piece of lamb should will do perfectly well.

      Yeah, mushrooms are fantastic - earthy umami. Yum!

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