Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie

Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie is a deeply flavourful homely recipe with a rich gravy, plenty of vegetables and a crisp buttery potato topping.

A baking dish of Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie with a portion removed. A bowl of Shepherd's Pie and a bowl of mint sauce to the side

Welcome to the first in a new series featuring classic dinner recipes which have been de-glutened. A lot of traditional British recipes, especially the ones we grew up eating as a family rely at least somewhat on the presence of flour. Whether it’s the gravy on your Sunday roast, the béchamel sauce of your lasagne or even my Auntie Lil’s chicken curry, regular plain flour is always present in some way. Since becoming gluten-free many years ago I have learnt through trial and error the best way to continue making these recipes so there is no difference between the gluten-free versions and the ones from my childhood. First up on the agenda is one of our all-time classic family faves. Shepherd’s Pie.

A baking dish of Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie

What’s the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?

Both dishes refer to a red meat dish, often minced meat, cooked in a gravy with onions and often carrots and celery, topped with a mashed potato layer and baked in the oven. The term Cottage Pie was first mentioned in 1791 but Shepherd’s Pie did not really appear until 1854. Initially the two terms were interchangeable for the same dish but in the 20th century the two recipes were separated into their own identities. Cottage Pie became synonymous with versions made with minced beef whereas Shepherd’s Pie would more commonly be made with minced lamb.

Our family adores Shepherd’s Pie, it meets approval from all members including the baby and guarantees a clean plate from our picky pre-schooler. Luke and I love it too, especially served with hot buttered cabbage.

The Vegetables

Shepherd’s Pie is a simple and satisfying meal with lots of veggies in the main base of the pie along with the lamb mince. I love the taste and texture that the extra vegetables give to the base of the dish. The usual onions are present, along with carrots and celery. However, here we also include diced courgette as it goes so beautifully with the lamb.

A baking dish of Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie with a portion removed. A bowl of Shepherd's Pie and a bowl of mint sauce to the side

How do you make Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie?

Sweet Rice Flour

The traditional version of Shepherd’s Pie is made using plain wheat flour to thicken the rich gravy which encases the meat and vegetables at the base of the pie. Here we are switching it out for sweet rice flour. The sticky properties of this starchy flour absorb the cooking oil and the added stock for a beautifully smooth and silky sauce which is indistinguishable from wheat flour gravy. The only difference is the colour. The sweet rice flour gravy is much lighter than its wheat counterpart. To this end we add coconut aminos which deepens the colour of the gravy naturally whilst also providing the perfect amount of seasoning.

Fresh Stock

One of the other key ingredients in this Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie is the use of fresh stock to make the most umami empowered gravy. It makes all the difference, providing tremendous depth of flavour and I would seriously advise against the stock cube if possible. I make homemade chicken stock every other Sunday with the bones of our Roast Chicken so I always have it to hand for my everyday cooking. It is possibly the most invaluable ingredient in my kitchen. If you don’t have any homemade stock then check to see if your butcher supplies it, otherwise do use the best store bought fresh stock you can find.

A bowl of Gluten-Free Shepherds Pie

Secret Ingredient

Finally do you want to know my secret ingredient for Shepherd’s Pie? It’s definitely not something I would add to Cottage Pie, but it lifts the whole meal up a notch, giving it such a special flavour. Would you like to know?

It’s mint sauce! Once you try it you will never make your Shepherd’s Pie without it.

Mint sauce is traditionally served as part of the Great British roast dinner alongside spring lamb. It’s an essential condiment of our larder and is an absolutely perfect addition to our Shepherd’s Pie. The three main ingredients of mint sauce are mint, white wine vinegar and sugar so it’s pretty easy to make your own. However, I usually use shop bought. It’s worth checking the label of your mint sauce though as many contain xanthan gum which is something I try to steer clear of in my kitchen. There are brands without though, so just double check.

The Mashed Potato

A Shepherd’s Pie wouldn’t be the same without delicious buttery mash blanketing the whole affair. I am quite particular about my mashed potato and although I don’t go the whole Joel Robuchon route which is half potato/half butter, this recipe certainly does not skimp on the butter or the seasoning. A good amount of butter is necessary for the perfectly crisp golden top on your Shepherd’s Pie. I also add a splash of stock in the mash to make the potatoes smooth, creamy and rich. You could also use milk.

Pro Tips To Avoid Gluey Mash

  • When adding your butter and liquid to the cooked potatoes it’s imperative to warm them up first and tip your potatoes into the add-ins, not the other way around. We want to avoid gluey or lumpy mash at all costs and this way makes sure we achieve neither.
  • To mash the potatoes you can use a hand masher or a potato ricer, but never use the food processor or the blender as you’ll run the risk again of gluey mash. Potatoes can be decidedly tricky when they want to be.

An empty bowl of Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie

If you make this Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

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A baking dish of Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie with a portion removed. A bowl of Shepherd's Pie and a bowl of mint sauce to the side

Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie

Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie is a deeply flavourful homely recipe with a rich gravy, plenty of vegetables and a crisp buttery potato topping.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: how to make gluten-free shepherd's pie
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 567kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 800 g red potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 100 ml fresh stock I use chicken
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and finely diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks finely diced
  • 1 courgette finely diced
  • 600 g lamb mince
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons sweet rice flour
  • 200 ml fresh stock I use chicken
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon mint sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Boil a large saucepan of water and add the potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes break apart when you touch them with the tip of a knife. Drain the potatoes from the water.
  • Add the butter, stock, salt and pepper to the now empty saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat.
  • Tip the cooked potatoes back into the saucepan and mash well until the potatoes are creamy. Set aside whilst you prepare the lamb mince.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C/180°C fan assisted/gas mark 5.
  • Heat the olive oil in a wide bottomed saucepan then add the onion, carrots, celery and courgette. Cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
  • Add the lamb mince, bay and thyme leaves, stirring occasionally until the lamb has browned.
  • Add the sweet rice flour to the pan, mixing in well to absorb the fat. If there is any excess oil then remove it with a spoon.
  • Pour in the stock and stir until a thick gravy has formed.
  • Add the coconut aminos and mint sauce, stirring through. Cook for 5-10 minutes so all the flavours are well combined.
  • Remove the lamb mince from the heat then spoon into an ovenproof baking dish into an even layer.
  • Spoon the mashed potato over the top until it completely covers the lamb mince, then create light furrows in the potato by using the back of a fork.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the potato is golden.

Nutrition

Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 1005mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 80.5% | Vitamin C: 25.4% | Calcium: 5.2% | Iron: 15.9%

SHOP THE RECIPE

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Pecan Treacle Tart

This Pecan Treacle Tart is a glorious transatlantic marriage between a Pecan Pie and a Treacle Tart. It’s the best of both worlds, deeply nutty, rich and sticky.

Pecan Treacle Tart

I originally posted this recipe in 2014 before the blog became gluten-free. These are the original photos and the recipe has been kept exactly as is below. However, I recently re-tested this recipe using a gluten-free pastry and gluten-free breadcrumbs which are one of the main ingredients of the tart and I was thrilled to discover the recipe loses nothing in the translation, so I have scribbled the gluten-free version down in the notes below.

This recipe is a mish mash of Pecan Pie from across the way and a traditional British Treacle tart. It seemed to make complete sense to me to combine the best bits about both recipes for an ultimate sweet treat.

Pecan Treacle Tart

The actual recipes if you look at them are quite similar bar swapping the nuts and breadcrumbs around. An American Pecan Pie calls for dark molasses or corn syrup instead of golden syrup traditionally used in treacle tarts. I stuck with what I know and turned to the golden syrup. However, I gave a nod to the intensely treacly flavour of the dark molasses by adding a smidge of black treacle which adds depth to the sweetness, giving this Pecan Treacle Tart a bit of backbone.

Whereas a treacle tart and a pecan pie use breadcrumbs or roughly chopped pecans respectively in their fillings. Here both are used gives the tart both body and softness. It’s a perfect texture. When I originally developed this recipe before I was gluten-free I used brioche breadcrumbs which add a lovely sweet butteriness but in re-testing the recipe I used breadcrumbs from a gluten-free sourdough and I was not at all disappointed with the results.

Pecan Treacle Tart

Finally I’ve finished the tart filling off with a splash of lemon juice to cut through the richness and a tweak of vanilla extract just like they do in pecan pies.

This tart really is wonderful. A delightful alternative to Pecan Pie if you are looking to switch things up this Thanksgiving or if you are keen on upping the ante of your usual British Treacle Tart. Delicious warm with whipped cream.

Pecan Treacle Tart

Pecan Treacle Tart

This Pecan Treacle Tart is a glorious transatlantic marriage between a Pecan Pie and a Treacle Tart, deeply nutty, rich and sticky (gluten-free option).
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, British
Keyword: pecan treacle tart, pecan treacle tart recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 623kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

For the pastry - for gluten-free pastry recipe see notes below

  • 270 g plain flour
  • 100 g unsalted butter fridge cold
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg lightly beaten for the egg wash

For the filling

  • 360 g golden syrup
  • 40 g black treacle
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 100 g brioche breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 75 g pecans toasted then roughly chopped plus extra for decorating on the top

Instructions

  • To begin with make your pastry. Take the butter out of the fridge and slice very finely with a sharp knife, then place in a large mixing bowl with the flour.
  • Tear the butter up and coat thoroughly with the flour, then begin to rub gently between your fingertips until you reach very rough breadcrumbs, don’t take it too fine. It should take less than 5 minutes.
  • Add the sugar, salt, egg and egg yolk then bring together into a dough. Tip it out onto the work surface and press together to form a ball. Wrap in baking parchment and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make the filling. Warm the syrup and black treacle with the salt, then tip into a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk in the double cream, then the egg.
  • Add the breadcrumbs and the pecans, lemon juice and vanilla then set aside.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out until it is about 3mm thick. Line the pastry into the bottom of the tin. The tin I used was 35cm x 11cm.
  • Place some greaseproof paper on top of the pastry then pour baking beans on top.
  • Place in the oven for 15 minutes to blind bake. Remove the baking beans, brush with the egg wash then place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • Turn the oven down to 160°C.
  • Stir the treacle mixture, then pour into the pastry. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling has set. Allow the tart to cool in the tin before cutting.

Notes

Gluten-Free Pastry
140g sweet rice flour, plus extra flour for dusting
125g sorghum flour
75g almond flour
25g ground flaxseeds
125g unsalted butter, directly from the fridge
100g caster sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk, lightly beaten
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoon whole milk
300g mincemeat
1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon whole milk whisked together for the wash
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sweet rice flour, sorghum flour, almond flour and chia seeds.
Slice the butter very thinly and add to the flour. Then rub the mixture between fingertips until roughly shorn and crumbly.
Whisk in the caster sugar and then pour in the eggs.
Bring the dough together using a wooden spoon at first if you like and then your hands. If the dough is still too dry and crumbly then add a little extra whole milk.
Turn the pastry out on to the work surface and knead very briefly into a ball until the dough is cohesive and slightly sticky.
Wrap the pastry dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).

Nutrition

Calories: 623kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 211mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 13.5% | Vitamin C: 1% | Calcium: 8.4% | Iron: 18.9%

SHOP THE RECIPE

I used this Alan Silverwood Tarte Maison with Loose Base 35cm x 12cm for this Pecan Treacle Tart. I love these Alan Silverwood tins as they conduct heat so efficiently making your tart perfectly baked.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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