Monday, January 14, 2013

Shepherd's pie with tomato jam

I love Shepherd's pie (known as pâté chinois in French Canadian cuisine) for its hearty, down-home layers of ground beef, corn, mashed potatoes and cheese. It's like a lasagna for the meat-and-potatoes type. If you have the freezer space, you can save time by making several in one batch. The eye-popping quantity below makes enough to fill three casserole dishes - one 10 x 13", one 9 x 12" and one 9" round dish. If you're a small household, stick to smaller sizes. Use disposable aluminum tins from the grocery store if you lack ovenware.

To make the potato layer:
Boil 5 lbs potatoes until fork-soft, then mash with 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup margarine heated in the microwave. You can either peel the potatoes before mashing, or just leave the skins on, if you don't mind the texture, for extra nutrients. Season with pepper.
To make the beef layer:
Finely dice 1 large sweet onion and 2T chopped garlic. In a large saucepan, heat 2T vegetable oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is soft and translucent. Remove and set aside. In batches, cook 2 1/2 kg lean ground beef, breaking it up as you go, until no longer pink. Drain off fat, then combine with the reserved onion and garlic. Add 2T each of Worcestershire and steak seasoning. 

To assemble:
Divide the ground beef amongst the casserole dishes. Top with a layer of frozen corn. Then add a layer of mashed potatoes. I find it easiest to drop spoonfuls of potatoes into the dish, then gently spread with a spatula. Add a layer of cheese and/or breadcrumbs. 

To cook:
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through, broiling for a few minutes at the end to brown the top. If you freeze it, defrost before cooking.


Replace some of the ground beef with crumbled sausage (more flavourful), ground veal (more elegant) or ground turkey (leaner).

{Layer 1: ground beef with onions}

 {Layer 2: corn}  

  {Layer 3: mashed potatoes}  

 {Layer 4: breadcrumbs}  

   {Layer 5: grated cheese}  

 Tomato jam

I still eat shepherd's pie with ketchup, just like when I was a kid. That means with enough ketchup to make the potatoes pink, which never failed to gross my mom out. One night I decided to try making a more grown-up version of the condiment - tomato jam. It doesn't have the same nostalgic powers of ketchup but it's pretty darn good. Leftovers could be used for anything from a cheese board to tarts to hamburgers. This recipe is my own.

Finely dice one sweet onion. In a wide saucepan, heat 2T olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 cup agave nectar (can substitute equal quantity of white or brown sugar). Cook until onion is caramelizing, stirring regularly, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 200g cherry tomatoes cut in half and 1-14 oz can tomatoes with their juice. Add 4 slices pineapple, finely chopped finely (I used canned), the juice of 1/2 lime, 2T red wine vinegar, 2T ground ginger and 1 finely chopped deseeded red chili. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour jam into blender and pulse a few times to smooth the texture slightly. Adjust seasonings to taste. I didn't measure the quantity of jam at the end, but I think I ended up with about 2-1/2 cups.


  1. Yum! You had me at mashed pototoes :) Shepard's Pie is definitely a filling and hearty meal for the those cold winter days. You are a fabulous cook! Heather

  2. You have no idea how many of your recipes I end up using! (The pork one from a while back is one if my favorite!) I love Shepherd's Pie but I've always been a little intimidated to try to make but your recipes are always so easy to follow, I'm going to try this one, it looks delicious. :)

  3. oh my gosh. I NEED THIS. I forgot how delicious shepherd's pie could be. My roommate in college made hers with liver and barely cooked it before adding it with all the other ingredients, and it just tasted... wrong. Yours, however, just looks soooooooo good, I'll have to give it another go!
    ♥ laura
    the blog of worldly delights

    the shop of worldly delights

  4. I was never a huge fan of shepherd's pie until I spent a summer on exchange in Quebec... my house mother made a pate chinois that was to die for! I haven't had it since I became a vegetarian four years ago, but I'm absolutely craving it after seeing this. Yours look so delicious!

  5. Oooh, like the sound of that tomato jam. Thanks for linking up with Food on Friday. Cheers

  6. Kat, thanks for also adding this to the "jam" session! Cheers


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