It’s a classic British dish as old as time itself. Try some of these ingredient additions for something a bit different

The classic lamb mince layer with a thick topping of mashed potato is a real crowd-pleaser, but what if you mixed it up a bit with an added secret ingredient?

 

1. Shepherd’s pie with ratatouille

It’s time-consuming to make your own ratatouille – a slow-cooked combination of peppers, courgettes, aubergines, onions, tomatoes and basil. But it’s also available in cans in-store, and a layer spread over the mince and under the mash will add a slight sweetness and extra dimension of flavour as well as texture to your usual shepherd’s pie. It’s a great way of getting kids to eat more veg, too.

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2. Shepherd’s pie with curry flavours

Surprising as it may sound, lots of Indian spices lend themselves to mince (think the ‘keema’ that often features on Indian restaurant recipes). Adding a couple of teaspoons of garam masala towards the end of the cooking time of your mince mixture, along with a squeeze of garlic and ginger paste, will transform your pie. To make it even more Indian in flavour, add a teaspoonful of turmeric to the potatoes when boiling them for mash and you’ll also have a gloriously golden mash topping.

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3. Shepherd’s pie with chilli

Adding a few chopped, deseeded green or red chillies to your meat sauce will pep up your usual dish. You can also serve the finished pie without a cheese topping, but with raita (plain yogurt with garlic, grated cucumber, mint and salt) on the side instead of the usual ketchup or brown sauce. It’s the perfect complement to lamb.

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4. Shepherd’s pie with anchovies

You may think that fish and lamb mince do not a happy marriage make but in fact anchovies have such a depth of flavour that they’re perfect for intensifying the taste of soups, stews, and meat-based dishes such as shepherd’s pie. You can buy them in tins or jars – just watch out for the thick crust of salt in the jars and make sure to rinse it off before using. Anchovies melt into sauces, so add maybe half a dozen to your meat sauce while it’s cooking down. Make sure to taste before adjusting the seasoning, as they will add a certain amount of salt to your dish.

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Shepherd's pie with anchovies

 

5. Shepherd’s pie with root veg mash

It’s easy to boil a bit of swede and carrot with your potatoes when making a mash topping for your shepherd’s pie. Even simpler is to pick up a couple of packs of chilled carrot and swede mash in-store. Either way, spread some buttery veg mash over your meat sauce and you’ll have a winning pie!

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6. Shepherd’s pie with lentils

Adding a pack of pre-cooked green or Puy lentils to your lamb mince means you can use less meat, so save money, and still have a very substantial basis for your pie. They add a great texture, too.

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