Under $25: Beef & Porcini Shepherd’s Pies

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shepherds pie recipe

Recipe: Under $25: Beef & Porcini Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie, also known as the Cottage Pie, is a dish that pleases all ages and taste buds (unless you’re a vegetarian but I am sure there is a version for you out there). It’s also quite inexpensive to make, even for a Paleo version with grass-fed meat. I make it quite a lot so it was only natural to include it in my Under $25 series. My version with porcini mushrooms sounds a little gourmet but it’s still as hearty and rustic t as the traditional Shepherd’s Pie.

Depending on how much you pay for grass-fed meat and other ingredients, this dish might end up costing you a tiny bit more than $25 but the recipe makes a huge amount of food and we ended up having some pie for lunch the next day, which makes it very cost effective. Once again, it takes into account that you will have most of the seasoning and fats on hand. You can use a deep baking tray or small oven proof casserole pots like you see in the photos.

Also Under $25: Chicken Drumstick Tagine with Parsnips & Artichokes

Cooking notes: You should be able to get dried porcini mushrooms in most good quality supermarkets and grocers. In Australia,  you’re looking at $6-7 for a 100gm pack but they are dried, shrivelled and have a pretty strong taste in comparison to fresh button mushrooms and will stretch across two or three dishes.  If you can’t find any porcini mushrooms, a cup or two of fresh sliced mushrooms is just fine.

Ingredients

  • 1kg grass-fed meat
  • 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 black pepper
  • 1 tsp mixed italian herbs
  • 1 star anise (it does magic to meat based dishes)
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Tamari wheat free soy sauce (optional)
  • 2 tsp Tapioca flour (for thickening)
  • 1 tbsp butter (for thickening, butter has very little lactose left so pretty suitable even if you’re trying going dairy free but you can use ghee instead)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee for browning the meat and onion
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp grated aged Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Heat a frying pan and sauté onion in ghee for 7-8 minutes. Prepare the rest of ingredients.
  2. Add the beef mince broken into small chunks and bring the heat to high. Break the mince into small bits by pressing down with a potato masher. Cook and stir frequently for 10-15 minutes or until the colour has changed to desaturated brown/grey. Add carrots, garlic, red wine, sea salt, pepper, star anise, bay leaves, herbs and bring back to boil. Add beef stock, tomato paste, broken porcini mushrooms and Tamari sauce. Stir and bring to boil, then turn the heat down to simmering and cover with a lead. Cook for 35 minutes, stirring through occasionally.
  3. After 35 minutes, uncover and add butter and tapioca flour. Mix through for a minute until slightly thickened. Cook for a further few minutes uncovered and turn the heat off.
  4. Once beef is under way, place sweet potato in a saucepan of water. Bring to boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft when poked with a fork. Drain well and return to the saucepan. Mash well, then add butter, cheese and salt and mash again until well incorporated and smooth. It won’t be completely smooth until you run it through a sieve but I don’t mind a slightly course mash.
  5. Bring oven to 200C. Spread beef mixture on the bottom of a baking tray or small oven pots, leaving about 1/4 of space for the mash. Carefully spread the mash evenly on top making small indents with a spoon for a visual effect. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes then turn the grill on and cook under for a further 5 with the door open. This will give you those gorgeous grill marks on top.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Number of servings: 4-6

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8 Comments

  1. candice
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    looks delicious! can you do the meat part in the slow cooker?

  2. Nicole
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Yum! Just made it and I have a very satisfied husband and 3 year old

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  • Make it Paleo: This recipe contains dairy such as butter and cream, both of which are high fat content and low lactose so perhaps you can get away with it. Otherwise you can probably use ghee and no cream, which will make it a bit thinner in consistency but the flavour of the mushrooms will still be amazing. Beef fillet and standard mushrooms can be used instead and you can add some dried porcini mushrooms for that wild forest flavour.

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  • You don’t really need to dust the meat with flour as you can thicken the sauce with a little tapioca flour or through evaporation method (aka cook with no lid on for the last hour). Peeled white potatoes are fine in small amounts but feel free to replace with sweet potato, swedes, parsnips or throw in zucchini and cauliflower in the last hour.

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  • Use ghee instead of butter if avoiding all dairy (although butter is pretty much fat with hardly any lactose left). Higher-welfare just means free range.

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  • Replace 2 spoons of plain flour with 1 tablespoon tapioca flour and add 1 teaspoon of butter or ghee at the end. Cook for a little longer with no lid on to thicken the sauce further.

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