Mama’s Shepherds Pie and Mushy Peas

My mother made shepherds pie often, huge roasting dishes of it. It is still my most favourite comfort food.  My Mother NEVER made mushy peas though. Mushy peas are an English side dish and are traditionally served with a steak pie in a pub.  Mum never went to pubs poor girl. I love mushy peas. Anyway half way through making my steak pie  I lost the will to make pastry.  Then I discovered that Miss T was putting some thought into cooking for her British husband. So I thought who better to help her with a Shepherds Pie than a New Zealander living in the United States of America who once lived in London. So I took a left and now I am making you a Sheep Herders Pie aka Cottage Pie. And you do not need pastry.

But first we need to relook at the Mushy Peas. Even the name is cute.  I know that sometimes it is hard to like mushy peas especially if they are too watery and too mushy. These are better. Cook them as a treat for someone. They are a gorgeous colour on your plate.  And then (just when you thought it was safe) try mushy pea sandwiches!.

By the time  I served dinner (someone was very late getting home last night) the mushy peas were quite cold and are even tastier when chilled.  Interesting. 


  • bunch of green spring onions finely chopped
  • small handful of finely chopped mint
  • bag of frozen peas

In pan, slurp in a little olive oil, add onions and mint and cook for  a few minutes, add frozen peas and cook, stir every now and then. When the peas are hot and soft, drop in a couple of dollops of butter, pepper and salt  and either mash them or pulse them in the food processer until not too mushy.  Serve hot or apparently – cold.   Try them.

Shepherds Pie

  • Diced Steak or minced steak (ground beef) 
  • Onions
  • Beef Stock
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Cheese

Brown your meat in hot  butter in small batches.  Retire to a bowl to rest for a minute.  In the same pan saute onions slowly until transparent. Return beef to onions. Toss about. Add beef broth, a slug of worcestershire, and soy sauce and a little balsamic.  Cook slowly until the meat is tender. Taste. Adjust. Always taste with a clean metal spoon.

Thicken.  Mum used (cornflour) cornstarch. Make a nice medium thick gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Turn heat off. Now add your vegetables. Whatever you have. Usually I add frozen peas but not  today as we are having mushy peas as a side.  Today I have put in egg plant, beans and capsicum and the shaving of a hot pepper and a few leaves and stems of  red silverbeet (swiss chard) .. whatever I found in the garden.  My mother  put in carrots, frozen peas and frozen beans. These will cook in the oven so just gently mix into the hot meat.  Add them raw or frozen -it is fine.  Be generous with the vegetables.

Ladle into your deep dish, top with tons of roughly mashed spud (potatoes)  and then pile a really sharp tasty tasty grated cheese on top of that. Sometimes I add a finely chopped onion to the mashed potatoes.

Into a moderate  oven and cook for an hour or so. Now, if you do not know what time you will be serving this dish it will wait in a low oven for ages. As long as it is well covered with potatoes.

This may overflow so take the appropriate precautions.

Have fun.


51 Comments on “Mama’s Shepherds Pie and Mushy Peas

  1. Shepherd’s Pie is one of my favorite comfort foods as well. I always used to order it on my first night whenever I was travelling for work, and was (and still am) on a quest for the best, even though I don’t travel for work anymore. It’s a little rough on the waistline, however, so I reserve it as a special treat. And as for mushy peas? My favorite!

  2. How could this shepherd’s pie not be a favorite comfort food? And I bet your kitchen smells wonderful just about the time the “pie” is ready to pulled out of the oven. I’ll make this dish this Winter. It’ll warm both me & my kitchen and I’ll enjoy a great dinner in the process. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love when you post recipes. This is a great one and Katherine would love that dish. Did you hear about Paula Deen’s recipe for mushy peas on the Food Network. It called for tinned peas and butter. The comments were hilarious. I don’t know. Your recipe is just downright complicated compare to hers!

    • greg you are really cool saying you love me to post recipes, you and katherine are so good at it and your food is so beautiful. AND mushy peas made from a can of peas are YUCK! ! What was that woman thinking! c

  4. Shepherd’s Pie is my go to supper and we always made it as per your recipe, never heard it made with pastry sounds interesting though. Now I make a meatless shepherds pie as well, made with ground round and its just as delicious!. Mam always made mushy peas with dried peas, soaking them overnight so I never made them myself but I will for sure try your recipie with frozen peas as I love shepherd’s pie (meatless since becoming a veggie 10 years ago) mushy peas and gravy…..sounds like heaven lol

    • No I have never heard of shepherds pie made with pastry either fuzzy, why is it even called a pie? .. I have made a meatless version but called it vegetable pie.. bet yours is tasty too.. c

  5. My husband loves to cook Shepherd’s Pie… his mother’s recipe is like yours. The few times I made it, I topped it with biscuit dough instead of mashed potatoes… the crust was …well, breadier. Yes, “breadier” is a word that I invented today. I’ve considered making a cornbread crust next time…

    You had me gagging with the mushy peas; I’ve never had them, but it reminds me of pureed baby food. I do like your suggestion of adding onion and mint ~ interesting! 🙂

    • I lover the gag reflex that mushy peas cause.. Our John was slightly whey faced when he was forced to try them last night and you know (just quietly) there is a lot of english nursery food that has escaped the nursery and is attempting to look all ‘growed up’! c

  6. Awwwwwww thanks oodles, C! When I give this a go I will be sure to take pics and post. What kind of mint did you use for those peas? I’ve got either a spearmint or peppermint bush in the micro farm that’s running amok now.
    Miss T 🙂

    • Hey there Miss T, Spearmint I would say, or whichever one you like the taste of.. I had more trouble photographing this pie than i did cooking it . I look forward to seeing what you make of it! c

  7. Your mushy peas look much nicer than traditional English ones which are usually made with dried or canned marrowfat peas, something resembling bullets I always think; the only time I eat them is when we get fish and chips and are away from home as well and I am worrying that nothing I am eating resembles a vegetable. Frozen peas are so much nicer! I am going to try your way if I ever make them, I have avoided doing so my whole life.

    I like the sound of your pie sauce : Worcester sauce, balsamic and soy… taking notes here. Sounds my sort of dinner – yum ! 😀

    • isn’t it funny how many people hate mushy peas.. I had no idea. and i have never heard of a marrowfat pea. i used to eat mushy peas a lot out in london,with a pie and mashed spud and tomato sauce.. .. lovely.. c

  8. I am new to your Space but I am certainly getting used to clicking on my friend Kay’s blog comments from her friends and finding yet another Space with these deliciously offered treats, and now because of my nosying around your Space I am hungry for the third night in a row 🙂 lol

    But after saying all that I am pleased to have clicked onto your Space as it is a wondrously enjoyable feast and I will definitely call again on the morrow to read more…

    Thank you for taking the time to read my somewhat lengthy comment and if you wish, why not take a step or two into My Gothic Realm, it is a friendly environment but it is littered with Gothic Horror stories and poems, of course there are some other treats in store if you care to look for them but do be careful near the Vault of Wicked Skeletons 🙂 Just kidding…

    Have a wonderful weekend now my friend 🙂


  9. My husband, bless his heart, loves mushy peas and I’ve never made them for him because I hate canned peas and they always have reminded me of canned peas. Shame on me. These actually look good…so maybe I’ll give them a try! Also, I always make my Shepherd’s Pie with potatoes…so much easier! Though I’m not usually as adventurous with the veggies as you are…again, maybe I ought to be…and I could even buy an eggplant for the first time ever!!

    • Hullo Anon, Well often it is canned peas that are mushed so you were quite right to avoid them. Let me know if your husband likes these ones ..see you again soon.. c

  10. My mum made shepherd’s pie at least once a week when I was living at home. It’s one of those warm, salty, savoury dishes that taste like home in a lunch box and help you forget about your crap week. I make it for my kids, now, too 🙂 I’ve never had mushy peas, though. I’m going to make us some, this weekend!

    • Hi Desi, I agree completely is Mum food, and home in a lunchbox is such a cool expression…have a great weekend. c

  11. I briefly served mushy peas in a fish and chip shop in England. Fish fried within an inch of it’s life and then mushy peas slapped on the side… I never did try them.
    I haven’t had shepards pie in a long time. Reminds me of my nana.

    • They are good karen, Though my poor dear american husband is unconvinced! .. what is happening over your side of the world today? c

  12. Haven’t done ‘mushy peas’ by themselves, but I made one with peas and parsnips last winter that was pretty good…If the weather wasn’t back to ‘summer’, we’d be having shepherds’ pie for dinner tonight – I can just taste it from your description! Mmmmmmm

  13. The last time I had shepherd’s pie was in London and I have always had it in restaurants! Your tasty recipe is a great opportunity for doing it at home! This looks absolutely delicious!!

    • I would love to hear how they make it in restaurants Ambrosia. how do you posh up such a homely dish!.. lovely to see you.. c

  14. Yum!!! Cottage pie is a favourite in our house, I add chopped bacon and fresh herbs to my variation. I like your version, especially the cheese on top. And you speak ‘southern hemisphere’!! ‘cornflour, potatoes, mince’, haha!!!

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