Quick Cook: A Shepherd’s Pie recipe with a spicy twist

When mashed potatoes are on the menu, I almost always make extra so I can use them for another meal later in the week. I add them to vegetable fritters, make gnocchi, puree them into a creamy potato leek soup or combine them with other leftovers for croquettes.

Shepherd’s pie is another ideal destination for leftover mashed potatoes. The simple formula — ground meat baked with a fluffy potato topping — lends itself to all sorts of flavor profiles. You can go traditional British with carrots, peas and Worcestershire sauce, or try this spiced version inspired by the Indian dish, keema. (I’m tempted to try a teriyaki version, perhaps with a scallion-ginger topping, or chili con carne paired with cheesy potatoes!)

This recipe gives the mashed potato layer a little extra texture and bite by adding minced raw onion, but if you prefer, you can sauté the onion along with the ginger and chile pepper before mixing them with the potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie with Indian Spices

Serves 4

For the meat layer:

1 to 2 tablespoons oil

1½ cups finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chile powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste

1 pound ground lamb or the meat of your choice

13-ounce can chickpeas, drained

For the potato layer:

4 cups mashed potatoes

½ cup finely diced onion

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon finely chopped Serrano chile

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup chopped cilantro

Salt to taste


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Start by preparing the meat layer: Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spices and salt and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the meat, breaking it up as you add it, and sauté until it is no longer pink. Drain off fat. Stir in drained chickpeas and continue sautéing over medium heat until the chickpeas are warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Transfer the meat mixture to an oven-safe 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Mix the mashed potatoes with the rest of the ingredients for the potato layer, seasoning to taste with salt. Transfer the potato mixture to the baking dish, creating an even layer to cover the meat. Use a spatula or fork to give the potato “crust” some textured swoops.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden in places. (Note: If you want to use a broiler to brown the top at the end, make sure you are using a metal or ceramic baking pan, not glass.)

Stacie Dong is a San Francisco food writer.

Contributed by local news sources

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