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Shepherd's Pie.jpg

The truth is, I never much liked Shepherd's Pie.  I just found it boring.  Meat and potatoes.  Lots of potatoes. Most that I have tasted and cooked have been rather unexciting. And quite frankly, if I am going to cheat on my low-carb eating style, I would rather have French fries or potato chips.

Since my favorite Englishman quite likes this dish, I decided I would try to make it so I like it too.  It does take some effort to make so I should be able to enjoy it! 


I amp up the spicing of the meat mixture, while also adding things like mushrooms and peas. To make it low-carb, I use whipped parsnips instead fo the potatoes.  But I gotta say ... I love the pairing of the sweetness of the parsnips with the fuller flavor of the meat filling. And the great thing is, if you make individual pies, you can top some with potatoes and some with parsnips.

If you want to make it vegetarian, just substitute a variety of mushrooms for the meat.




Meat Filling

  • 1 sweet onion diced small (about 1 1/4 cups)

  • 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and diced small 

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 cup or so fresh or frozen peas

  • 1 tbsp Burlap and Barrel oregano* buds chopped or any dried oregano - can also use a few sprigs of fresh oregano

  • 1-2 tbsp tamari sauce

  • 1 tsp (or more or less) Burlap and Barrel Urfa Chili* or a dash of cayenne

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • a few sprinkles of Burlap and Barrel Black Lime* (optional)

  • 3/4 pounds lean ground beef

  • 3/4 pounds ground lamb

  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms cut into small chunks 

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste or organic ketchup without sugar

  • 1 tbsp almond flour

  • 1/4 cup brandy

  • 1 tablespoons of Demi-glace if you have it

  • ¾ cup beef stock

  • sea salt

  • black pepper

  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 cup shredded aged white Cheddar (optional)

  • chives for garnish

Parsnip purée can be mad beforehand and refrigerated. Warm slightly before topping pie.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees if serving right away. 

I like to brown the meat in a separate skillet.  Place meat in skillet, sprinkle with a little salt.  Cook meat until no longer pink breaking it up as much as possible with the back of a spoon. I like to cook it until some of the meat browns.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in another skillet, preferably one with a lid, on medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, mushrooms and thyme sprigs and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the onions are translucent and the carrots and mushrooms are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, urfa chili, oregano and continue cooking for about a minute. Add brandy and allow to reduce, again, another minute or so. 

Add the tomato paste or ketchup and stir, cooking until it is well combined, another 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and cook for 1 minute.


Add cooked meat to the mixture Add the beef stock, tamari sauce, balsamic vinegar and demi-glace if using and cook, stirring, until the liquid has thickened slightly. Stir in the parsley and peas and remove the thyme stem.


Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle mixture with black lime if using.

I like to make individual pies in 'freezable'/oven proof dishes. This recipe makes 4 nice sized servings. Alternatively, you can make one pie either using the skillet if it is oven proof, or transferring meat mixture to a 3-quart casserole dish.

Top the meat mixture with puréed parsnips either by spooning it over or pushing through a pastry bag (seen in video).  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese if using.  You can wrap the pies in aluminum foil and freeze at this point if not serving right away.

Place in oven and, if the mixture is at the top edges of your pan or dish, set a foil-lined baking sheet underneath the pan to catch any drips.


Bake the pie/s until the parsnips have begun to brown and the edges are bubbling, about 20 - 30 minutes. You may also want to place under broiler for a minute to brown. Let stand at room temperature for several minutes.

Garnish with some chopped chives.

If serving individual pies, place the cooked dish on a plate to serve so it won't melt anything beneath it.

*Burlap and Barrel make some uniquely flavorful spices that I highly reccommend.

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