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Hidden veg shepherd’s pie

Hidden veg 5 a day shepherd's pie
One approach to getting kids to eat more vegetables is to hide them in dishes. It doesn’t ‘solve’ the overall ‘problem’ of them not loving the vegetables, but in the short-term they are getting some nutrients into them – and we all know in reality parenting is about day to day survival, right? Well, I guess this shepherd’s pie does the whole hidden veg thing. Artie is more fussy than he used to be. The positive perspective on his new pickiness and ‘I do not like vegetables’ stance is that I am being a bit more creative with same-old-same-old dishes (like good old sheperd’s pie) by stuffing them with extra vegetables, chopped up so small that he doesn’t notice! He really dug this pie. Like, shockingly so! Bea too. They both had two bowls. This was pleasing to say the least. It’s all about the tiny victories when you’re a mum…

The pie has 5 types of vegetables in, but obviously you aren’t going to get the full recommended daily portion of say, carrots, by eating a serving of pie that only has 3 in. So it’s not going to fulfil the 5 a day quota alone. That said, you’re going make a serious dent in it by having just one portion of this delicious, comforting pie. The gravy to serve with it is taken from the pie itself – a trick taught to me by my mother-in-law. It cuts down workload and is soooo tasty, as it’s flavoured with all the meat and vegetables. One last thing… my secret ingredient, that I almost forgot to include in the recipe by the way, is… HP sauce!

Serves: 6 adults

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes

500g minced lamb
3 carrots, diced
2 leeks, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary (or thyme)
500ml light veg or beef stock
1 tablespoon of gravy granules (or 2 tablespoons of flour if using beef stock), to thicken
2 tablespoons of HP or other brand brown sauce

For the topping: 
1 swede, peeled and chopped into chunks
1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into same size chunks
50g of butter
Splash of milk, ideally whole, heated
150g cheddar, grated
Salt and pepper
Pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated


  1. Cut the potatoes and swede into equally sized pieces, place in cold water and bring to boil. Cook for about 25 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Drain and mash with butter, lots of salt and pepper, nutmeg and heated milk. (Adam makes the best mash and this is his secret, so I’ve started doing it too – it makes it smoother somehow)
  2. Simultaneously, or before you put your potatoes on, sweat your onions, leeks, carrots and garlic gently in olive oil for about 15 minutes, until nice and tender. 
  3. Add your mince and turn up heat to brown. 
  4. Sprinkle the granules (or flour if using beef stock) in and stir well to coat and combine. 
  5. Now the fresh herbs, bay and rosemary or thyme if using that, and hot stock. I used a light, decent shop bought vegetable stock. Do not season with salt if using shop bought stock as it will be too salty. If it’s home made stock (well done you) then feel free to season. 
  6. Let it come to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent sticking, especially if you have used flour to thicken. 
  7. Preheat oven to 180C. 
  8. After 30 minutes or so, check the mince and season. If you’re happy then pour the mince mixture into a sieve with a bowl or jug underneath to catch the excess gravy. Set gravy aside for serving. 
  9. Tip the mince into a large ovenproof baking dish. Cover with mash and scatter cheese on top. 
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with lashings of gravy and if you can be bothered, some peas or cabbage alongside. We didn’t, as there is quite a lot of veg in it already. 
>> Check out more lamb recipes!

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