This low FODMAP recipe is a version of Rob’s Shepherd’s Pie, which I mentioned about in one of my first posts – ‘Rob and FODMAPs’. I think Rob’s looked more tasty, however when recreating the recipe I realised he used sweet potatoes, which strictly aren’t low FODMAP. I don’t seem to have an issue with sweet potatoes, but used white for this recipe to be on the safe side.
Hopefully we’ll have a few more weeks of summer. But once the autumn kicks in this is the perfect dish – warm, cosy and comforting. It’s also a great option for batch cooking, we got 4 nights’ dinners (big portions) out of this amount and you can jazz it up with different low FODMAP veg each meal.
With low FODMAP cooking you really need to get every ounce of flavour out of each ingredient – it can take a bit more time and care, but the extra effort is honestly well worth it, especially when you don’t have to cook for another three days!Ingredients
– 3 large carrots
– 2 sticks of celery *
– The top (green bit) of 5 spring onions
– 1kg lamb mince
– 2 cloves of garlic (for flavouring oil only)
– 4 rashers of bacon (smoked or unsmoked)
– Glug of good quality olive oil
– 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
– Glass of red wine (or a mini bottle of red wine)
– 200 ml FODMAP free stock or water – enough to cover the meat
– 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
– 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
– 1 tbsp tomato puree
– Splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
– Salt and fresh black pepper
– 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
– 2 dried bay leaves
– 1 kg potatoes for mashing
– 50 g butter
– 150 g grated cheese (mature cheddar or whichever you prefer)
– 50 g grated parmesan (optional)
– ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
* Watch out for portion sizes of celery. It contains moderate amounts of the polyol mannitol, but in the small servings it’s ok for many people. Alternatively, chives add a similar oniony flavour.
To start – fry the chopped carrots and celery for 3 mins in good quality olive oil. I like the veg to stay a bit crunchy, but if you prefer them softer, fry for 5 mins. Remove and put to the side for later.
Brown the mince in a frying pan – it’s really important to do this in small batches, so it has space to brown nicely. You might feel like you shouldn’t be cooking the meat too much, but by getting a nice brown colour you add flavour to the meat. When finished, strain off any extra fat/liquid.
You can either use pre-made garlic flavoured oil or ‘squash’ the two cubes of garlic with the back of a knife (you don’t want to smash them into small pieces as it’ll be harder to remove them once they’re flavoured the oil) and fry for 4 – 5 mins on a gentle heat in a glug of good quality olive oil.
Now remove the cloves of garlic – don’t forget!
Now you start to make the meaty filling – add carrots, celery, browned meat, a tin of tomatoes, wine and stock or water and mix together gently. Then add the thyme, rosemary, tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves and season well with salt and pepper. (I made some chicken stock recently – it’s really easy and adds a much richer flavour – recipe to follow shortly.)
At this point you want enough liquid to cover the meat – so add a bit more wine/stock/water if needed. It might seem like a lot of liquid (as per the middle picture below) and I was tempted to add some corn flour to thicken. However, it you’re patient and cook the mixture down it will reduce itself and thicken up, which of course helps with the flavour.
Cook, uncovered, on a medium heat for 40 mins or until the liquid has reduced by half. You can see how much the liquid has reduced on the side of the dish.Whilst the meat is cooking, peel and boil the potatoes until well cooked – about 20 mins depending how small you cut them. Once cooked, drain and put back into the pan. Mash with butter and leave uncovered for the steam to rise for 5 mins. Don’t be tempted to add milk – you want a dry mash for the topping of the pie. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
Add the meat mixture to an oven dish, then spoon on the mashed potatoes. Flatten with the back of a wooden spoon and smooth to seal the topping using a flat, blunt knife or spatula.
At this point you can decorate the topping as you wish – if you’re lactose intolerant or just don’t fancy the cheese topping, run a fork through the potatoes to create a patterned texture which will crisp up nicely in the oven.
If you’re using the cheese sprinkle on top and try to avoid the edges of the dish, so that it doesn’t burn – it just makes your washing up easier. (I would have preferred a bit more texture on the top, with some nice crispy bits, so will run a fork through the potato next time.)
Finally add a last twist of salt and fresh pepper.
Buttered green beans
Fresh green salad
Steamed baby carrots with a sprinkling of chives
Steamed or fried courgettes
A brief note about salt and low FODMAP cooking –
Commercial stock cubes and gravy (usually with garlic and onion powder so not FODMAP friendly) contain quite a lot of salt – so when cooking low FODMAP and using water, wine or a homemade stock you’ll automatically be adding less salt to your cooking. Too much salt is proven to be bad for your health – however, by not using a commercial stock or gravy I tend to think you can get away with adding a bit more seasoning that you would in normal cooking. Please experiment for yourself – but I promise you, sometimes adding a pinch more salt to your dish will instantly lift the flavour.