Dinner in minutes

Dinner in minutes: Shepherd’s Pie


Main dish


3/4 pound Idaho or russet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For filling

1 cup frozen diced/chopped onion

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup fat free, low-sodium chicken broth, divided use

3/4 pound kabob lamb, fat removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 ounce)

Preheat broiler. Wash potatoes, do not peel, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a medium sauce pan and add cold water to cover. Cover with a lid, cook on high 15 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Drain and mash with a potato ricer, sieve or in a food processor. Mix with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

While potatoes cook, make filling. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and 1 tablespoon chicken broth. Sauté until onions are soft and golden, 5 minutes. Add more chicken broth if pan becomes too dry. Add the lamb and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour on top and add the remaining chicken broth, tomato paste and rosemary. (If you are using leftover meat, add it at this point.) Simmer 5 minutes until sauce thickens. Add Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Taste for seasoning adding more Worcestershire if needed. Spread mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with cheese. Place under broiler 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 548 calories (35 percent from fat), 21.2g fat (7.4g saturated, 10.0g monounsaturated),123 mg cholesterol, 45.58g protein, 44.7g carbohydrates, 5.8g fiber, 444mg sodium.

Shopping list

3/4 pound russet potatoes, 1 small bunch fresh rosemary or 1 bottle dried, 3/4 pound meat cut from leg of lamb or lamb kabob cubes, 1 package frozen diced onion, 6-ounce can tomato paste , 1 small bottle Worcestershire sauce and 1 small package shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Staples: Olive oil, carrots, fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, minced garlic, flour, salt and black peppercorns.

Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional pub dish. Some claim it as British, others as Irish. In either case, it’s a quick dish to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s made with cubes of preferably lamb but also beef, veal or pork, and vegetables and a tomato-based sauce. Top it with mashed potatoes and cheese.

This one-dish meal usually cooks slowly in the oven. I’ve shortened the time by sautéing the meat and vegetables in a skillet, topping it with mashed potatoes and placing it under the broiler for a few minutes. It’s very easy to make and freezes well. If you have time, double the recipe and save half for another quick meal.

If you use lamb for this recipe, opt for cubes cut from the leg.

On the side, serve pre-washed salad with sliced tomatoes and a reduced-fat salad dressing.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: “When I see lamb, somehow I always think merlot. Try it and let me know what you think.”

Helpful Hints

Lamb stew meat can be used. Remove as much fat as possible from the meat before cooking and cook the dish five minutes longer. Leftover roast lamb is OK, too; add it later in the preparation as noted below.

Use a pan that can go from stovetop to broiler. If you don’t have one, cook it in the skillet and transfer to a casserole dish.

Use a potato ricer or food mill to mash potatoes. If using a food processor, don’t overprocess. The potatoes will become gluey.


Preheat broiler.

Start potatoes boiling.

Make filling.

Finish potatoes.

Complete dish and broil.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer.

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