Nana's Shepherd's Pie

On a recent visit to Hong Kong, Grandma, aka 'Nana', whipped up her famous Shepherd's Pie. Based on the reaction of toddler and his friends, I knew the world needed this recipe! Thanks to beautiful, talented, hilarious, full of life Nana and her guest post this week, we can now all enjoy this nutritious, heart and belly-warming spiced up classic on our family tables.

Nana's Shepherd's Pie
by Stephanie Koya / Nana

When I was a little girl, I used to beg my mother to make Shepherd's Pie. It was my favorite, so simple yet yummy. I vividly remember the smell of the herbs, onion and garlic as the mince was cooking on the stove top. I make it quite often in the cooler months of Florida, spiced up with cinnamon and clove, which complement the beef beautifully. My son Shariff told me that if he had to have one last meal, it would be my Shepherd's Pie with creamy, buttery, mashed, sweet paprika-spiced potatoes on top! As you can imagine, I was over the moon, and even more so, when my grandson tried it and did his 'yummy dance'. "Mmmmmmm Nana" he said and I just felt like I was going to burst with joy. I hope you enjoy it and get a yummy dance from your kids too.


Nana's Shepherd's Pie
Baby Led Weaning Friendly, Toddlers, Kids, Adults

Science Corner
Iron is critical for the production of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells. These cells transport oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body, including the muscles. Iron deficiency, if left untreated, can cause fatigue and weakness and more seriously, growth and developmental delays. After 6 months of age, babies', toddlers' and kids' diets must provide sufficient iron.  For kids who eat an omnivorous diet, beef is a superb source of iron. Here, it comes together with vitamin-rich veggies, anti-oxidant rich spices and natural starches to create the perfect, satisfying, balanced meal for the family table. 

6-8 toddler servings

2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or ghee
1 onion finely chopped
1 celery stick finely chopped
2 large carrots finely chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
3/4 lb or 350 g minced beef (or lamb, if you prefer a more gamey flavor)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon mixed herbs (like herbes de Provence)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves ground about 1/8 teaspoon
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon flour
5 Russett potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup milk
1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons butter
1 cup peas
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika

Preheat the oven to 375 F / 180C. 

In a heavy bottom, preferably oven-proof pot for which you have a lid, heat the oil or ghee on medium. Add the onion, celery and carrots and sautee until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, about another minute. Add the beef and brown the meat, stirring well, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf, herbs, tomato paste, dijon and spices and sautee until well mixed, about a minute. Add the chicken stock and stir well. Whisk in the flour to thicken the gravy slightly breaking up any clumps. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook with the lid on for about 30 minutes. 

While the mince is cooking, In a pot for which you have a lid, cover the potatoes with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add 1 teaspoon of salt and cook on medium-high uncovered for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to the pot over low heat, add the milk, 1/2 the butter, salt and pepper to taste, stirring until well mixed and creamy. Take off the heat and set aside. 

Once you've crossed the 30 minute mark with the minced beef, add the peas, salt and pepper to taste and some water if the mixture is dry and cook covered for another 10 minutes. Taste the mince and season with more salt if necessary. Remove the bay leaf. 

Cover the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes and smooth out with a fork. Sprinkle with paprika and thin slices of the remaining butter. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the mince is bubbling. Serve with a side salad for an adult dinner party or as is for the yummiest toddler bash.