Mini Shepherd’s Pies (Grain and Gluten Free)
These mini shepherd’s pies are my daughter’s favorites. I’ve prepared this recipe for her many times and she always eats up her portion and asks for more.
You can make the pies with a ground meat that you like. The original recipe for shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, but it is hard to find. I usually use a mix of beef and pork for my recipe. That is my favorite combination when I cook dishes with ground meat. I have an electric meat grinder and I like to grind my own meat. In the past I also made this recipe with ground turkey and the result was very good. Therefore, it is your decision what kind of meat would you like to use for the mini shepherd’s pies. Keep in mind that poultry cooks slightly faster than pork and beef, especially if it is lean.
Why Should you make the Mini Shepherd’s pies?
This recipe is excellent for using leftovers. When I first made it, I was wondering what to cook with 1/4 cup of leftover peas and one sad carrot. You can also use up some leftover mashed potatoes.
You can serve some vegetables to picky eaters. This recipe contains seven vegetables. They are a great source of nutrients and fiber. If you have a child that doesn’t like some vegetables try to cook him this meal. Most kids enjoy mashed potatoes and ground meat, because it is easy for them to chew. It is very likely that they are going to enjoy this recipe. You can even add more vegetables of replace some with others, depending on preference. Other vegetables that may be included are mushrooms, corn, some chopped leafy greens or peppers.
Another reason to prepare my recipe is that it is totally grain and gluten free. Most recipes for shepherd’s pie have flour or some other type of starchy thickener for the sauce. I personally don’t think that adding flour is needed. I don’t think that the mini pies need any thickeners. The liquid is reduced by cooking the vegetables before adding them to the ramekins.
In the past I’ve made this recipe low carb by replacing the mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower puree. It works just as good. To prepare the cauliflower puree you boil a chopped-up cauliflower with some salt and two peeled garlic cloves. Once the vegetables are soft drain the water add some butter and mash until smooth. Baking time remains the same.
Mini Shepherd’s Pies
- For the mashed potatoes
- 2 pounds potatoes (I use russet)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup whole milk or more if needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the pie filling
- 1 medium sized onion chopped finely
- 1 carrot chopped finely
- 1 large zucchini chopped finely
- 2 medium sized garlic cloves chopped finely
- ½ lb fresh tomatoes peeled and cubed
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 1 pound ground meat of choice (I usually use beef or pork, but chicken and turkey works too)
- 2 Tbsp oil I used sunflower oil
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
To make the mashed potatoes
- Start by making the mashed potatoes. Peel and cut the potatoes to one inch cubes. Place them into a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium high. Add some salt to the water and boil until the potatoes are fork tender (about 10 minutes).
- Once the potatoes are ready drain the water and return them to the same pot they were boiled. Add the butter to the potatoes and start mashing. Gradually add the milk and seasoning. Mash until no lumps are visible.
- Preheat the oven to 400F
To make the filling for the pies
- Chop the vegetables to small cubes (except peas). Peel the tomatoes and cube them.
- Add oil to a large pan and preheat it to medium heat. Then add the ground meat and break it to small pieces with a heat resistant spatula. Cook until the meat is slightly browned. Add salt and pepper, stir and remove the meat from the pan.
- Next add the chopped vegetables (onion, carrot, zucchini, garlic) to the same pan you cooked the ground meat. Cook them until they are slightly softened 2-3 minutes. Then add the peas and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomatoes and the cooked meat to the pan vegetables and continue cooking and stirring for about a minute. Have a taste and to check and adjust the seasoning. Add the fresh thyme levels. Then turn off the burner and remove the pan.
- Spoon the mixture into small ramekin dishes or into one oven safe casserole dish. I use ramekins with 4 inch diameter.
- Cover with potato puree and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then broil for 2 minutes.
- Serve while still warm.