Shepard’s Pie with Cauliflower

Shepard’s Pie with Cauliflower

Even the word pie is comforting. But then, it would be hard to deny the delicious lure of braised beef with a cheesy, buttery topping of cauliflower and potato. It’s a gloriously healthy meal solution as it can be made ahead of time and served when everyone is too busy and too tired. Serves 6-8.

5 tlb olive oil
1 large brown onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
1 ½ tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
2 tsp thyme leaves
1kg beef mince
1 cup passata
½ cup dry red wine
400ml beef or chicken stock
parsley leaves, to garnish

For the topping
1 medium head cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
50g butter
½ cup milk
100g feta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and choose a large, oven proof fry pan with a tight fitting lid.

Heat the olive oil in the fry pan over medium to high heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and sweat for about 5 minutes. Next, add the cumin, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the mince and break it up with a fork, then cook until it has lost its raw colour. Pour in the wine, increase the heat and reduce until evaporated. Add the stock, then cover the lid. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to very low. Cook, covered for about 1 hour. Check seasoning and adjust if required.

For the topping
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the cauliflower and potato then cook until very tender. Drain the water, add the butter and milk then mash the vegetables. Crumble the feta into the saucepan then stir gently to combine.

To assemble, spread the cauliflower mash on top of the meat and smooth out evenly. Bake the pie in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a fresh seasonal salad such as radicchio and rocket, dressed in lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt and pepper.