I’ve always been a fan of Shepherds Pie. It’s like the perfect, one pot meal. You’ve got your meat, potatoes, and vegetables all in one. Plus, it’s easy to make ahead and use when you need a quick, filling meal. With summer in full swing and lots of fresh potatoes coming up out of the Earth, it’s the perfect dish to stock in your freezer.
I thought Shepherds Pie would be the perfect meal to make for a friend of mine who recently had twins. One of the babies is having some health issues, so a few of us decided to help out by making meals for the family to stock up. This way, the family can focus on what’s really important and not have to worry at all about meal prep.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't really have a problem with the number of ingredients in a food item. However, what got to me was the number of “mystery” ingredients listed. On the package it listed: wheat flour, cornstarch, salt, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, Worcestershire sauce (vinegar, refiners’ molasses, glucose syrup, salt, caramel colour, garlic, sugar, spices, tamarind, natural flavor), sugar corn maltodextrin, dehydrated onion and garlic, spices, yeast extract (may contain barley), disodium inosinate and guanylate, citric and tartaric acid, caramel colour, natural flavor.
What a mouthful! Twice in that list I saw the words “spices,” “natural flavor,” and “caramel colour.” What spices? Why aren’t they listed specifically? Natural flavor of what? And where does this caramel colour come from? Is it actual caramel? If so, why isn’t that listed? I have a real problem with how vague and mysterious those ingredients are. Nevermind the fact that disodium inosinate, guanylate, and maltodextrin aren’t exactly the type of ingredients I could easily come by myself, let alone know what they are without looking them up.
I’ve been trying so hard to fill my body with whole, natural ingredients, that when it came time to cookfor my friend’s family, I just couldn’t bring myself to use all of these mystery, no-doubt unnatural ones. So I set out to make my own seasoning mix for the meat. And, I gotta tell you, I will never buy a pre-packaged mix again. This one was so flavourful and tasty. And I can be pretty sure that just about anyone will have these ingredients on hand. Even if they don’t, they would not need a special “mystery lab” to gather them.
One more thing about Shepherds Pie that I love is this. Each “layer” of the pie could easily be made as a single dish. So feel free to make it and use or assemble in any way that you see fit. You can also swap out the ground pork for any kind of ground meat. I only used pork because it came from my parents’ farm.
Here’s my recipe for Shepherds Pie. Enjoy!