Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with mashed potatoes over a base of cooked ground meat and vegetables. (What meat to use? Authentic shepherd’s pie should only be made with ground lamb. If it’s made with ground beef, it’s properly called cottage pie). Our version substitutes pureed cauliflower for the mashed potatoes; we find this considerably tastier than mashed potatoes, and it’s also healthier (cauliflower has a substantially lower glycemic index than potatoes). We also include a parsnip along with the traditional carrot; if you’ve never tried parsnips, now’s your opportunity! You’ll find they’re a bit sweeter than carrots.


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium cauliflower, core removed and cut into florets
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • approx. 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (we find we virtually never need this)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/3 C shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 F. Brown meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove meat but leave any fat rendered in the pan. Add chopped onion, carrot, and parsnip to pan and cook until just beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Return meat to the pan. Add tomato paste to the center of the pan and stir quickly to caramelize, approximately 1 minute. Add stock and fresh herbs, and cook until thickened, approximately 10 minutes. Add frozen peas and transfer to a 2-Q souffle dish. Meanwhile, steam (or microwave) the cauliflower until it’s quite tender. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Add butter and continue to puree until butter has been incorporated. Start adding milk, a tablespoon or so at a time, until the mixture has the consistency of mashed potatoes – don’t let it get too runny. Taste for salt and add if needed, pulsing briefly in food processor to mix. Transfer cauliflower puree to the souffle dish on top of the meat mixture, smoothing it with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the top with the shredded Parmesan cheese, and bake until cheese is nicely browned, approximately 30 minutes.