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Phil Vickery’s savvy shepherd’s pie

It’s the ultimate winter comfort food, the humble Shepherd’s Pie! But Phil Vickery has a clever twist on the old classic. Not only is he reducing the meat content by adding cooked lentils to the filling, he’s adding a sweet baked potato top. It’s a great way to cut down the cost and make a healthy meal for the whole family. 

Savvy shepherd's pie

Serves: 4-6


2 tbsp oil

4 small onions, finely chopped

200g minced lamb

2 x 400g canned or tetra pack cooked green lentils, well drained

200g chestnut mushrooms, very finely chopped (Phil uses a magimix)

2-3 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp tomato puree

Pinch dried thyme

2 tbsp Bovril or Marmite

300mls water

1 x 10g vegetable stock cube (low salt)

Salt and pepper

200g baked potatoes 

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (OR carrots) 

1 small cauliflower, chopped into small chunks

150mls skimmed milk (approx.)

50g butter or olive oil


1. Heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Cook for 15 minutes to reduce the moisture.

2. Then, add the onions, mince, and lentils and break up well.

3. Cook until all the moisture has evaporated.

4. Add the flour and mix well, then continue to cook until the flour browns well on the bottom of the pan.

5. Next, add the tomato puree, thyme, Marmite or Bovril, stock cube and enough water to just cover the meat.

6. Season well with pepper (check the salt) and cook for 20-25 minutes gently, or the flour will catch, stirring occasionally.

7. The mix should be fairly thick, then pour or spoon into a baking dish and leave to cool.

8. Wash and pierce the baking potato. Microwave for 15 mins (or until soft).

9. Place the peeled and chopped sweet potato (or carrots), cauliflower florets, butter, and milk into a large bowl. Cover and microwave for 15 mins (or until soft). Add the jacket potato to the bowl and mash together. Season well with salt and pepper. The mash should not be too creamy, but soft.

10. Spoon onto the cooled, set mince and fluff up with a fork.

11. When ready, reheat in a moderate oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and slightly crunchy.

12. Serve with microwaved spring greens or peas.

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