Pumpkin Shepherd Pie ♯

Strictly speaking, Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie) is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato, originating probably in the UK or Ireland. Since shepherds are concerned with sheep, the meat in this case was lamb or mutton, although in America, it is usually beef. The recipe below, suggested by one I found in Sunset Magazine, uses lamb. I added Parmesan cheese primarily for taste, with the ratiionale that Italy has shepherds, too.

The particular attraction of using pumpkin here is that it is extremely low in carbohydrates, having only about 8 net carbs per cup. The immediately discernable dissimilarity between this version and the real thing is, of course, its orange color. But, what is more important, is how its taste is affected. I think you will be delighted to find just how good it is.

  • 1 (15-oz) can Libby’s pure pumpkin
  • ½ cup X*
  • ½ cup nonfat cream cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp <salt>
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • ½ tsp <salt>
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, in ½” chunks
  • ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ dry red wine
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 F with a rack placed in the upper third.

Put the pumpkin in a bowl, add the X, cheeses, <salt>, and rosemary, then mix thoroughly using a hand mixer.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, wide pan, add the lamb, <salt>, and pepper, and cook until browned on all sides, breaking up the meat with a metal spatula. Add the onion and garlic and cook until vegetables are starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, peas, and mushrooms, and cook another 2 minutes.

Put the flour in a small bowl, add the wine and broth, and stir until incorporated. Add this to the lamb mixture in the pot, stirring to combine. Cook until thickened and no flour taste remains.

Put the lamb mixture into a 9” × 9” glass baking dish. Spread the pumpkin evenly over the lamb and bake until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling beneath, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes; sprinkle with parsley and serve.

If you desire to make this ahead of time, complete all steps but the baking and instead refrigerate, covered, until needed. When ready, bake the cold preparation for about 55 minutes.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.