Saturday, 24 November 2012

Mexican Shepherd's Pie

I have no ide whether a Mexican Shepherd would eat this!  It just seemed like the best name for an improvised dish that will be cooked again and again, it was so delicious (and simple and cheap, other qualities to recommend it by).  It is, essentially, chickpeas, tomato and spinach or kale cooked with chilli, cumin and paprika, then topped with a coriander and Parmesan mash - great for veggies if you use a suitable cheese alternative.  All you do is saute an onion, chopped (I used a red one, but go with whatever you have) in a tablespoon of oil until softening, then add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, a finely chopped red chilli, a heaped teaspoon each of ground cumin, sweet paprika (not the smoked kind) and dried oregano.  Stir for a moment then add a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes and a tin of drained, rinsed chickpeas.  Season,, bring to a simmer and let it cook and reduce a little until thick - around 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, boil or steam about 750g to 1K of mashing potatoes (Maris Piper of King Edward's for me).  When the chickpea mix has reduced, cram in either a 200g bag of spinach or in my case, a head of Cavalo Nero kale that had just arrived in the Riverford box, well washed and thinly shredded.  Allow this to cook and wilt - a matter of moments for spinach but for around 5 minutes if you use the kale.  Tip the saucy mixture into a pie dish (see photo).  Now, mash the spuds, and mix in about 30g of butter and a couple of tablespoons of milk, and season well with salt and pepper.  Grate 50g of Parmesan or veggie equivalent, and stir 30g into the potato, along with some chopped coriander leaf - about 20g should do.  Don't miss this bit out, the flavour combo is divine!  Spread over the chickpea mix.  Now, mix the remaining Parmesan with a tablespoon or so of breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 180 for 25-30 minutes until piping hot, crisp and bubbling.  This was soooooo good and would easily feed four with a salad, some extra veggies on the side or even some crusty bread and butter for a carb overload!  Qualifies for Under a Fiver easily.


  1. It looks absolutely delicious, but may I make one comment? Parmesan is not a vegetarian -friendly cheese. However, you can buy supermarket own 'hard Italian cheese' that often is - check the label.
    J x

  2. Hi Joy! Lovely to hear from you. I know Parmesan isn't suitable for veggies (what a shame!) which is why I suggested a suitable veggie alternative if you are cooking for someone for whom Parmesan is a no-no. The brands vary from country to country so I didn't suggest one, as several US friends who read this would sya 'huh?!'. But then they usually do at most of my prnouncements anyway.