Healthy Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie
This is a really delicious recipe, the slow cooking creates a pulled beef in a rich sauce, which is delicious with the sweet peas and mash on top.
The perfect recipe if you have a big family, are entertaining, or like to meal prep. This recipe will make two large shepherd’s pies, so if you just want one for now, you can freeze half of the filling/base and just make half of the mash now and the other half in a few weeks when you want to eat the second pie.
It’s got plenty of veggies, so it makes for a nice balanced meal for the whole family.
You can use a slow cooker for this recipe or a large heavy base saucepan with a lid, the bonus of the slow cooker is that you can set it and leave, but just do what works best for you.
What you need:
For the base
Extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, finely sliced
400g mushrooms, sliced
900g beef (I used chuck, you can use that or another cheaper cut), roughly cut into 4-5 medium sized pieces
3 carrots, diced
1/2 fennel or 2 stalks celery, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 tins of diced tomatoes
1 cup of beef stock or 1 stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
2 t smoked paprika
2 t sugar
Salt and pepper to season
750g frozen baby peas
For the top (you can half this if you want to make 1 shepherd’s pie now and freeze the filling for a few weeks time, then make a fresh batch of mashed potatoes)
1/2 cup of milk (might need more depending on consistency)
3-4 T butter
What you do:
Heat a large heavy bottom saucepan or use your slow-cooker. Add extra virgin olive oil and the leeks and mushrooms, saute.
Heat a separate fry pan, add a dash of olive oil, when hot add the pieces of meat and brown them on all sides, then add them to the slow cooker (or saucepan if you’re using that). This pan is no longer needed after this step.
Add the diced carrot, fennel, zucchini, 2 tins of tomatoes and stock to the slow cooker/saucepan. Add the smoked paprika and sugar, season with salt and pepper.
Set on high on the slow cooker for around 4 hours, or on the stovetop bring to the boil then reduce to low-medium heat and set for around 3 hours.
When the beef and veggie mixture looks nice and thick and the beef is starting to fall apart, turn the heat off and roughly shred the beef with a couple of forks. Add the baby peas and mix through.
Add cold water and the sliced potatoes to a large pan of water. Heat on high until boiling then reduce heat slightly. Depending on the size of the potatoes, they should take 10 - 15 mins for them to be fully cooked. Test with a fork, they are done when they are nice and soft.
Take off the heat, drain the potatoes and mash with a potato masher (you can also use a fork if the potatoes are well cooked), add the milk and butter to help make a creamy consistency (more milk and butter can be added if necessary).
Turn the oven on to 180 °C.
Add the beef and vegetable mixture to one or two large dishes, filling them about 1/2 - 2/3 full (see first photo below). Top with the mashed potato, making some texture with a fork, as these bits will get extra crispy (see second photo below).
Add the large dishes to the hot oven and cook until the potato is crispy, or about 15 minutes.
Enjoy as is, or with a side salad or some green beans. This meal is sure to be a hit with the whole family and the left-overs will be greatly appreciated!
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