My Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie

My Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie


1 kilogram ground beef
2 onions (large, cut into fine pieces)
3 carrots (grated)
250 grams brown mushroom (fresh, or canned button mushrooms, thinly sliced)
9 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
5 bay leaves
3 beef bouillon (/stock cubes)
3 tablespoons bovril
1 teaspoon pepper (ground back)
1/2 cup red wine (to 1)
5 tablespoons plain flour
3 kilograms potatoes (white)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
150 grams butter
2 chicken stock cubes
egg wash (Final, topping -)
3 egg yolks


1Add a teaspoon of salt to half a large pot of water and set it on the stove to boil.
2Meanwhile, peel 3kg of potatoes. Use white potatoes, don’t use the starchy yellow ones. Cut the potatoes into even size cubes.
3When the pot of water is boiling, place the potatoes in and let it boil for about 1/2 hour or until potatoes are VERY tender.
4While the potatoes are cooking, pre-heat oven to 200 deg Celsius.
5Slice 250g of mushrooms.
6Peel and grate 3 carrots.
7Cut 2 large onions into fine pieces.
8Mince 8 to 9 cloves of garlic.
9Add 2 T of cooking oil to a large deep pan. Keep the pan at high heat at all times.
10Add the onions. Stir it around for a minute.
11Add the minced garlic. Stir it around for a minute.
12And then add 1 kg of ground beef. Keep stove at high heat and give it a good stir.
13Add the carrots, mushrooms and mixed herbs.
14Add 5 bay leaves.
15Add 2-3 cubes of beef bouillon. It depends on the brand you use. Safer to add 2 first. Taste it at the end and add more if necessary. I crumble them with my fingers into the pan. There’s nothing worse than eating into food and biting into a large lump of undissolved stock cube.
16Add 3 tablespoons of Bovril.
17Add 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stir it all up.
18Add 1/2 to 1 C of red wine, depending on how much wine flavour you like in your stew.
19After a good stir to combine the ingredients in the pot, sprinkle in 5 tablespoons of plain flour. Sprinkle. Don’t chuck a whole chunk in.
20Stir the flour through. Turn off the fire. Cover tightly and set aside.
21Now the potatoes should be done. The potatoes must be very tender, otherwise they won’t mash nicely into a soft whipped texture.
22Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot and add in 150g of butter. Mash it up.
23Add 1 to 2 cubes of chicken stock, depending on how salty they are. Crumble them in with your fingers.
24Add black pepper to taste.
25Add 1.5 cups of whole milk (room temperature, not cold).
26Stir and mash. Taste. Tweak with milk or seasonings where necessary. You want to get a VERY soft mash. Like KFC whipped potato. Not the hard kind of mash because there’s more cooking to be done.
27When the mashed potatoes are finger linking good on their own, cover the pot and set aside.
28Now back to the meat mixture.
29Dish out the meat stuff into 2 or 3 casseroles. Fill HALF the dishes with meat mixture.
30Place the mashed potatoes in a strong freezer zip lock bag. And push the mixture to the bottom of the bag. Snip off an inch of the bag at the tip of one end at the bottom.
31Hold the opened tip carefully and place the bag of potatoes over the casserole dish. Start piping in straight lines end to end. Don’t worry about the uneven lines yet.
32Once you have the potatoes piped on, use a offset spatula or a jam knife and gently move the surface of the potatoes till you get an even flat top.
33Add more mashed potatoes where necessary.
34Get 3 beaten egg yolks in a bowl.
35Brush the egg yolk over the surface of the pies. Load it on generously.
36Glide a fork over the surface gently and create lines.
37Pop the pies into the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top. To give it an extra golden brown, I turned the oven to grill in the last 5 minutes.
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