Chilli beef shepherd's pie

Chilli beef shepherd's pie

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(32 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 4
The family favourite with a spicy kick and parsnip mash topping

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal518
  • fat18g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs52g
  • sugars22g
  • fibre18g
  • protein39g
  • salt1.48g
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  • 2 tsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 500g pack lean minced beef
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 420g can kidney bean in chilli sauce
  • 400g can chopped tomato
  • 1kg parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise - it looks just…


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then soften the onion with 1 tsp cumin for a few mins. Push the onion to the edge of the pan, add the beef, then brown well, breaking up the lumps as you go. Add the garlic, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes and half a can of water, season and cover, then simmer for 20 mins.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the parsnips in boiling salted water until tender, drain well, then mash with some freshly milled black pepper and a little salt. Heat the grill to high. Tip the chilli mince into a large ovenproof dish, spoon over the mash, scatter with the remaining cumin seeds, then grill for 5 mins until golden.

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Comments (42)

haysarge's picture

I cooked this recipe with plain mash it was yummy x

student_life's picture

The chili tasted great and I'm overall quite pleased with the ingredients in it. I had two big issues with this recipe, though, and I found them quite problematic since this was not cheap for me to make, especially since I'm a student, but I thought it would be worth it and was quite looking forward to make this.

First of all, if you like parsnips, like me, don't assume that you're going to like mashed parsnips. It literally made me sick. My flatmates thought it was funny at first, but then they brought me a bucket. Just the smell of the mashed parsnips almost had me vomiting. I couldn't stand it. I don't even want to remember it. Safe to say that I removed the mash and tried to keep on eating, but God, I could still taste it!! I recommend that you either use mashed potatoes or try and taste mashed parsnips before including them in your pie. I never remember having such an awful reaction to any food before. I hated it so much that I created this account just so I could complain about it.

The second problem was that I followed this recipe religiously (I'm not experienced enough to experiment) and yet, the pie was very loose and liquid. It felt like more of a stew than a pie.

Anyway, I can see that most commentors did it their way and that's probably a good idea. I don't recommend you do it like it says in the recipe word by word.

PS: How much even is half a can of water? I checked online and I asked my flatmates and no one knew. In the end, a friend of mine's dad had the answer. I'm still not completely sure, but I did 150ml based on his tip.

Norma. mackey's picture

Absolutely delicious! I did add the water (as i stupidly did not read the commments first!) but i just took the lid off and let it simmer down a bit. I also added another teaspoon of chilli but that is just personal taste. LOVED the parsnips topping - so simple and yet just a little bit different. Anyone eating shepherds pie in my house will be eating THIS recipe every time. YUM.

Millsybabe's picture

Great recipe. Cook the meat as said, leave to marinade in the pan for an hour and serve with Mexican rice for a change. Gorgeous.

k8simmons's picture

I am making this for dinner with friends tonight. I agree that the 'chilli' factor was a bit thin so I have added more chilli, plus a bit of sugar to add depth to the flavour. I have also done the mash as half and half parsnip and celeriac with a little fresh parmesan grated on top. The kids love it, just hoping my friends do too.... ;0)

Violet-289's picture

I really like this recipe. I'm a novice at cooking and baking, but found this recipe really simple and it turned out great. I will definitely be making again and again. I had to make a few adjustments, as I didn't have everything in. I used potatoes and sweet potato for the mash (sprinkled with cheese and the cumin seeds), I will try with parsnips next time. I didn't have any kidney beans with chilli sauce, so followed the tip and drained the kidney beans, and used roasted peppers and 2 tsp chilli flakes (didn't have any chilli powder). It worked really well and had a nice chilli kick to it.

zoestabler's picture

I really like this with a mix of sweet potato and parsnip mash

pmountifield's picture

This is a definite family favourite and so easy to make. I follow the recipe with the parsnip & cumin seed topping. It would ruin it to use anything else. If you like really spicy then add either fresh chillis or chilli powder to suit. I always make double the quantity and freeze any extras.

Ian Tanton's picture

It's great and so simple.

sarah77's picture

Hi all, I'm going to cook this tomorrow for friends and was wondering for those who have already tried it, do you think some bits of chorizo in the mince would work well?

eleanormayo's picture

This was nice, but not very "chilli", I added a good sprinkling of mild chilli powder aswell, but when the mince finished cooking it still needed a good shake of tabasco. I don't like parsnips so topped with half sweet potato/have normal potato mash, which worked well. Only 3*s for not living up to the chilli name!

leah2302's picture

I made this with beef and carrots as my boyf is not a fan of kidney beans and I only had lamb mince. It was delicious!! Added some cheese on top and used plain potato mash. I slightly upped the amount of cumin and added a good portion of chilli flakes. I also didn't add the water and added an extra tin of tomato as I think I made a bigger portion of mince than the recipe states. It tasted a bit like a healthy version of chilli nachos! Will def make again!

evelynjcooper's picture

This was 'OK', but I probably wont be making it again. I wasn't impressed with the chilli sauce from the tin of kidney beans (bought from Sainsburys), I think it would be better to make the sauce from scratch. However, I think I'll stick with traditional shepherd's/cottage pie OR chilli & rice!

britbrit100's picture

This was so delicious I didn't add to much water and also added some Tabasco sauce I also grated cheese on top of the parsnips before grilling I think the parsnips are really lovely with it and I think the cheese really made this dish even more yummy will defo being making this again me and my partner both went back for seconds and it's also delicious for lunch the next day : )

britbrit100's picture

This was so delicious I didn't add to much water and also added some Tabasco sauce I also grated cheese on top of the parsnips before grilling I think the parsnips are really lovely with it and I think the cheese really made this dish even more yummy will defo being making this again me and my partner both went back for seconds and it's also delicious for lunch the next day : )

eleanormayo's picture

Really yummy - liked the changes to ordinary cottage pie - I added some mushrooms, chilli powder and a couple of dashes of tabasco. I also topped with potato mash as I don't like parsnips (at all!!).

cc-offe's picture

Love this, it's one of my favourites.

loopylinny's picture

I made this tonight but my mom doesn't like parsnips and I didn't fancy the idea of a mashed potato topping so I decided to top with sliced new potatoes and bake in the oven to make it into a chilli beef Hotpot instead. A tasty way to use up mince with just a few store cupboard staples added

dougall's picture

Loved this, so good.

netcurtains's picture

Very simple and tasty dish which goes down well with all the family. Use a deep pie dish to serve so you can acomodate the parsnip mash. Also, for a more concentrated flavour leave out the water so you have a thick consistent meat sauce. After 20 minutes, if you still have a watery sauce, then turn the heat up to thicken The combination of parsnip and cumin gives the dish a "nice spicy kick"


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