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Hot and Hearty Gluten Free, Kosher Italian-Style Shepherd's Pie

Updated on June 29, 2018
Natalie Frank profile image

Natalie, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, is a freelance writer who is always searching for what lies within the potential.

5 stars from 2 ratings of Kosher Gluten Free Shepherds Pie
Finished Shepherd's Pie Ready to Eat
Finished Shepherd's Pie Ready to Eat

Preparation Time:

45 minutes - 1 hour (decrease preparation time by using some of the suggestions included below)


  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons chicken broth (can use reduced sodium if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce of choice
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free, fish free Worcestershire sauce (if you are having difficulty finding this look for hechshers on organic, gluten free brands)
  • 1 large can chunky pasta-style tomatoes or diced tomatoes drained (for extra flavor I use the kind with chilies but this makes it spicier so adjust to taste)
  • 1 small can tomato paste (can use reduced sodium or no salt added if desired)
  • 1 lb kosher ground sirloin (can use kosher ground turkey, lamb or veal if desired)
  • 1 large onion chopped (in the summer use two Vidalia onions if you can get them)
  • 1 large green pepper seeded, membrane removed, chopped
  • 2 cups yellow summer squash
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 3 large stalks celery, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen baby sweet peas
  • 1 cup chopped white button mushrooms
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped (or fresh, chopped garlic from supermarket)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • A dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika (if you have a strong sense of taste for this spice you can leave it out as it is meant for decoration not to alter the flavor of the dish)
  • Pareve (neither milk nor meat products included) gluten free creamer (If you have trouble finding it, try a brand that is vegan, kosher for Passover and non-gebrokts or has no grain products included)
  • 3 egg yolks (can discard one after checking or leave out entirely if you have high cholesterol or are vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons pareve margarine
  • 1 teaspoon potato starch dissolved in same amount of water OR 1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in same amount of water (see notes about the difference between these two options)

Alterations to Save Time

While this recipe takes some time to prepare, the results are well worth it. One ingredient, in particular, that you can save a good deal of time preparing are the potatoes. Try using peeled and quartered potatoes but don't forget to wash them thoroughly under cold water as starch tends to build up once they are peeled. Also make sure they are raw or they will become too mushy when boiling. You can even use dehydrated potato flakes which eliminates the first step (just follow the recipe on the container). I have used the dehydrated potato flakes numerous times and with some milk, margarine, salt, pepper and parsley flakes (just to add some color) I can't tell the difference from the real thing.

You can also cut the preparation time by using frozen, mixed or canned pre-cut vegetables. While fresh herbs always seem to taste the best they also take time to shop for and prepare. Dried seasonings often taste almost as good as fresh and save a great deal of time though I wouldn't cheat on the fresh garlic as there is no comparison between garlic powder and fresh chopped garlic. You can still buy the chopped garlic at the store (though again I taste the difference when I use fresh garlic and chop it myself.) For those who prefer finer garlic pieces a press is quick and easy. Further time can be shaved off by using only the Italian Seasoning, and leaving out the extra basil, parsley, garlic and oregano.

Spending Time on Cooking

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Spooning Mashed Potatoes Over Prepared Meat and Vegetable Mixture
Spooning Mashed Potatoes Over Prepared Meat and Vegetable Mixture


  1. Preheat oven to 375⁰F. Cover potatoes in water in medium pot and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through *
  2. Drain the potatoes well. Mash or whip, adding butter, and non-dairy creamer to make light and fluffy. Combine egg yolks well and add while continuing to mix or whip. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put aside. *If using packaged, fresh or frozen peeled potatoes or dehydrated potato flakes prepare according to instruction provided.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat until it begins to shimmer.
  4. Add the onion and carrots and sauté until they begin to take on color.
  5. Add the celery and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the celery, green pepper and garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the meat and brown ensuring it is fully cooked (time depends on the meat you are using). Drain fat from mixture.
  8. Stir in seasonings. Add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce if you choose. Mix.
  9. Add squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, corn, peas and tomato paste. Mix well to combine flavors until it starts to bubble.
  10. Mix in starch and water .
  11. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  12. Spoon mixture into a 2.5 quart glass casserole dish.
  13. Spoon mashed potatoes over the top, beginning around the edges to make a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up. Smooth with a rubber spatula.
  14. If using paprika, sprinkle it over the top for color

Cook Time

Place casserole on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the potatoes just start to brown. Remove to a cooling rack and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 - 7

No matter what your dietary restriction there are now plenty of products to meet your needs.
No matter what your dietary restriction there are now plenty of products to meet your needs.

Wine Pairings

There are now numerous great kosher wines on the market from all over the world. For this dish, you can choose from several different wines depending on the meat you choose. For lighter meats try a Pinot Noir or even a Zinfandel. If you prefer a Pinot choose a warmer vintage for just the right amount of fruity undertones to enhance the more delicate flavor of the meat. Or try a lighter Zinfandel for a zesty, peppery flavor with a hint of blackberries to bring out the unique spices in the dish.

If you are using beef, a Malbec is an ideal choice to bring out the complex flavors created by the herbs and spices in the meal with berry and plum flavors enhanced with a spiciness that tastes of anise and caramel undertones. For those preferring a heavier, more robust wine that goes well with beef, a Syrah (shiraz) is a hearty, intense wine with flavors of black fruits with toffee notes and a hint of black pepper spice. Merlot works well with any meat as it is less tannic, has fruity and herbal flavors and a round texture.

Merlot is the Perfect Accompaniment for Any Type of Meat
Merlot is the Perfect Accompaniment for Any Type of Meat


  • You will notice that in addition to Italian seasoning I double up on some of the spices found in this blend. You can always season to taste, add spices you like or leave out spices you don't like. While the sweet spices may seem a bit odd for this recipe, give them a try at least once as they blend into the overall flavor and don't stand out on their own
  • While there has been a lot of hype about gluten hiding on the spice shelf . But with a little precaution, you can keep your favorite flavors. Individual herbs and spices do not generally contain gluten, though a non-gluten anti-caking agent (e.g. calcium silicate, silicon dioxide or sodium aluminum silica) may be added. The other thing to remember is spices are eaten as part of other foods. Since levels of gluten are typically measured as the number of ppms in a food, the total amount of gluten added through a spice would be considerably less than what might be found in a pure spice effectively neutralizing it's effects for most people. In very rare cases, wheat flour or wheat starch may be added to spices to reduce cost and while there has been concern about cross contamination research into spice production and packaging facilities have shown the rates of cross contamination with a gluten containing product is almost zero. It's always best though, to buy quality spices to minimize any chance that a gluten containing ingredient may have found it's way into the spice.
  • When choosing between potato and corn starch, you don't need to buy one if you already have the other. If deciding between the two if you don't have either, however, I usually choose potato starch as it doesn't have an after taste and you don't need to use as much. It also provides a smoother taste quality which I prefer. While both are inexpensive, if you have an Asian market nearby, you can often find large bags of potato starch priced less than a dollar. Root starches don't stand up to heat and lengthy cooking as well as grain starches so when using potato starch it's generally better to use it at the end of cooking while when using corn starch it's generally better to use it at the beginning of cooking (good for dishes like macaroni and cheese). For this dish, either can be added at the end as even if it isn't as well thickened as you'd like, you will be baking it and that will allow the juices and other liquids to fully gelatinize.
  • Different people hold to different standards on how they keep kosher. Use your own standards when deciding which brands of ingredients to choose.
  • Regarding the fish free Worcestershire sauce, most people keeping kosher refrain from mixing fish and meat together. The mandated separation between meat and fish is made out of concern for medical risk, not because the combination is explicitly prohibited by the Torah.

© 2016 Natalie Frank


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