Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Bean Crust

For he GFGF group we are chosing a new recipe for the Thanksgiving table. That was easy. Because Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Germany, I could select anything new. I chose dried beans as vegetable and served

Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Bean Crust

Spiced Shepherd's Pie with Bean Crust

And for dessert a licorice pipe.

As the Lemon Meringue Pie is threaded through all the books from Louise Penny’s Gamache, the Shepherd’s Pie is served at least six times, proven prepared by Gabri, Myrna and Clara.

Serving Shepherd’s Pie started in Still Life *

When Gamache arrived back at the B&B, he found Olivier and Gabri getting ready to head over to he Morrows for a potluck dinner.

„There’s a shepherd’s pie in the oven for you, if you want“, Gabri called as they left.

Myrna brought it along in The Cruelest Month * and A Great Reckoning * and it is Clara’s comfort food in The Nature of the Beast * after Peter had gone. Gabri served it in Glass Houses *

Gabri returned to his kitchen and poured himself a bulbous glass of red wine. And sat on a stool by the counter, looking out the back window into the darkness.
Getting up to prepare the shepherd’s pie, comfort food for their dinner, Gabri suspected his guests would find very little peace in whatever Gamache discovered. And probably no comfort in the food.

And in Kingdom oft he Blind * it is served with chocolate cake like in A Great Reckoning *

„How did the meeting go, yesterday?“ asked Gamache as he and Jean-Guy settled into the study. They’d had their dinner. Shepherd’s pie and chocolate cake. Honoré was asleep in his room.
The Gamaches‘ unexpected guest, the young man with the weird hair, Benedict, had gone of for the bistro for a few drinks. He’d spent much of the time, after being introduced to Annie and Jean-Guy, playing with Honoré. Once Honoré was put to bed for the night and they’d had dinner.

So why not serving it on my not Thanksgiving Table.

Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Bean Crust

Yield: 4 generous servings

Spiced Shepherd's Pie with Bean Crust

Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Bean Crust has a bean tahini mash topping instead of a potato one. The pie can be assembled up to two days ahead, and refrigerate, in which case add five to 10 minutes to the baking time, to allow for it being cooked from cold.


  • 90 ml olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 banana shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 600 grams minced lamb
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 lemons, grated zest
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp. rose or regular harissa
  • 100 grams dried apricots, quartered
  • 280 ml chicken stock
  • 220 ml white wine
  • 80gram green olives, pitted, cut in half lengthways
  • 670 g cooked dried beans **
  • 3 tbsp tahini paste


modified by from:
Ottolenghi in The Guardian


  1. In a large, heavy-based pan for which you have a lid, heat three tablespoons of oil on a medium-high heat, then saute the garlic and shallots for about five minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden. Turn up the heat to high, then add the lamb, cumin, allspice, half the lemon zest and half a teaspoon of salt. Fry for five minutes or so, stirring every now and then, until browned all over, then add the tomato paste, harissa and half the apricots. Fry for two minutes more, then add the stock and wine, turn down the heat to medium, cover and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Once cooked, set aside the meat to cool, then stir in the olives and remaining apricots, and spoon the stew into a 20cm x 25cm high-sided ovenproof dish and refrigerate for at least half an hour. This will firm it up, making it easier to spread the mash on top.
  3. Heat the oven to 180 °C/350 °F/gas mark 4. Combine the butterbeans in a large bowl with the remaining lemon zest, two tablespoons of olive oil, the tahini paste, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper, then mash with a potato masher – the beans don’t need to be totally smooth, just spreadable. Add some cooking water if necessary.
  4. Spread the bean mix evenly over the top of the lamb, then make shallow dips here and there in the surface of the mash with the back of a tablespoon. Drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of oil and bake for 30 minutes, until nicely coloured and bubbling. Leave spiced shepherd’s pie with bean crust to rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

** Ulrike: 400 g uncooked beans soaked in water overnight with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, drained and boiled until cooked
total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
prepararion time: 15 minutes
cooking/baking time: 1 hour 5 minutes


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more Gamache inspired recipes at Küchenlatein:

4 thoughts on “Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Bean Crust

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  2. Kayte Gerth

    Oh, I giggled at the thought of you getting to choose anything at all because you don’t do Thanksgiving there in Germany. Thanks for being a good sport and humoring the selected theme anyway. This is such a great looking recipe…I have never had it with mashed beans on top, but I think I would like it very much so I will give it a try…it is the season for dishes like this on cold wintery nights. I love these Gamache recipes that you are doing…every time I read what they are eating, I always want to have it, too! Shepherd’s Pie is just such a great choice. In the spirit of Thanksgiving: I am thankful for friends like you who have kept in contact over so many years…such a gift! You always brighten my day.

  3. Pingback: Jahresrückblick #Foodblogbilanz2021 - kuechenlatein.com

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