Shepherd's Pie with Lamb Lentil Meatballs

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A cozy Moroccan-spiced casserole with lamb lentil meatballs in a delicious broth with a mashed potato topping.




  • 1 cup cooked green lentils
  • 1-pound ground lamb (or beef)
  • ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Mashed Potato Topping:

  • 3-3 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (skin on)
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

Shepherd’s Pie:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ tablespoon each ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon each ground black pepper, ground cinnamon and ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon each cayenne and ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups unsalted beef, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup sliced green olives
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, mint and/or flat-leaf Italian parsley, divided


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mash lentils using a potato masher. Add remaining meatball ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Form into 2-inch balls and line on the wire rack, about 1-2 inches apart. Roast for 15-18 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove and set aside.
  4. Place cubed potatoes in the boiling water and cook 8-12 minutes, until fork tender. Drain, then place back in the pot. Add milk and salt to the pot and use a potato masher or hand mixer to mash until creamy and very few lumps remain. Set aside.
  5. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil at medium heat. Add onion and sauté 4-5 minutes, until soft. Stir in garlic and ginger and sauté 30-60 seconds. Stir in all of the spices and the tomato paste. Add crushed tomatoes, stock, green peas, olives and raisins and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer 10-15 minutes. Stir in honey, lemon/lime juice and half of the chopped fresh herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  6. Coat the top sides of the Dutch oven with cooking spray. Spoon mashed potato topping over the stew. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Let slightly cool, then top with chopped cilantro, mint and/or parsley to serve.