Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Mash

We always love a shepherd’s pie and this version has a beautiful cauliflower topping as a change from regular mash. The method we've suggested for cooking the cauliflower gives a nice creamy, result and means it’s less likely to be waterlogged than if boiled or steamed in the usual way.

Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Mash


Prep time
15 minutes
Cooking time
1 hour
438 per serving


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g lamb mince
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 large beetroot, coarsely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • needles from a rosemary sprig, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100ml red wine (optional)
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml lamb, chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and black pepper

For the topping

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large cauliflower (800g–1kg), finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp crème fraiche or soured cream
  • a few dill sprigs, finely chopped
  • 50g Cheddar or other hard cheese, grated, optional


  1. First start the filling. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the lamb mince and fry it over a high heat until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, celery, carrots and beetroot. Sauté for 5 minutes until just starting to soften, then add the garlic, rosemary and oregano and stir for another minute. Add the browned lamb, pour in the red wine, if using, and bring to the boil. Simmer until most of the wine has boiled off before adding the tomatoes. If not using the red wine, just add the tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 20 minutes.

  3. To make the topping, heat the oil in a large lidded sauté pan. Add the cauliflower and sauté over a high heat until it starts to look slightly transparent. Add a splash of water and season with salt. Put the lid on the pan and leave the cauli to gently steam for about 5 minutes until tender. Remove from the heat and drain, then mash thoroughly. This is best done with a stick blender, but a traditional masher works too. Stir through the crème fraiche or soured cream and the dill.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Pile the filling into a large ovenproof dish, then spoon over the cauliflower topping. Make sure the filling is completely covered, especially around the edges. Sprinkle with the grated cheese, if using, and place in the oven.

  5. Cook in the oven for 25–30 minutes until the filling is bubbling under the cauliflower and the top has lightly browned.