Ramadan recipe of the day: Savour the ultimate comfort food, Shepherd's Pie

Originating in England, this classic baked dish is a casserole with layer of cooked meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes


Nasreen Abdulla

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Mon 3 Apr 2023, 4:53 PM

For British Muslim John M, Ramadan is a time he likes to spend with family and young children. “I like to get involved with decorating the house for Ramadan and Eid,” he said. “My wife and I always try to make it special for our boys.”

Despite having travelled all over the Middle East, Afghanistan and Turkey for work, John’s comfort meal after a day of fasting is a meal he grew up eating. "Nothing tastes better than a plate of Shepherd’s Pie,” he said.

“When we were younger, my mother used to make it for my siblings and the taste is always nostalgic. Also, during Ramadan, Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect meal that has a good mix of carbs, proteins and vegetables. It is very nourishing. My mother has shared her recipe so that my wife and I can make it occasionally for our boys. It feels like a family tradition now.” Here is the recipe John shared:


For the filling

  • 500g ground lamb (or beef)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables (usually we use carrots, peas and corn kernels)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (or use 1 tbsp garlic powder)
  • 1 cup broth
  • A mix of spices- 1 tsp each of rosemary, thyme, parsley and paprika
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tomato, ground or 2 tbsp canned tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • For potato topping
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
  • 120 gms butter
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese (optional)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the meat filling by heating up the oil in a pan and then sauté the onions and crushed garlic until translucent. Add the carrots first (as they take longer to cook) and brown them for a minute or two before adding the ground meat. Break up the meat and cook till the meat is no longer pink.

Now add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, spices, tomato and salt to the meat. Mix until there are no lumps. Add the peas and corn to the pan before pouring the broth and bring it to a boil. Now reduce the heat and let simmer until the meat is cooked well (about 15 minutes). Keep the mix aside.

To prepare the potato topping, place the potatoes in pan and pour over water until they submerge. Add salt and let it boil until the potatoes are cooked (about 20 minutes). Drain the water out and put back the potatoes in the pan where it should be mashed thoroughly. Add in the milk, butter and spices to the potato and mix well. Mix in the cheese if using.

Now take a baking dish and pour in the meat mixture evenly. Over it, spoon the mashed potatoes layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling. If the top isn’t brown, place it under the broiler/ grill for 5 minutes.


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