Sophie Dahl’s shepherd’s pie with champ Recipe

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30 min


1 hr

These tasty little shepherd’s pies are from episode two of Sophie Dahl’s BBC cookery programme, The Delicious Miss Dahl. They can be made with a meat filling, or choose the veggie option and fill them with puy lentils


  • For the champ topping:
  • Sea salt
  • 6 floury potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Handful of frozen peas
  • 4 spring onions roughly chopped
  • knob of butter
  • 50ml milk
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 150g Cheddar cheese, broken into chunks
  • ¼tsp smoked paprika
  • For the tomato sauce base:
  • 2 red onions, peeled androughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 sticks of celery,chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cans plum tomatoes
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1tsp Tabasco
  • ¼tsp smoked paprika 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 175ml red wine
  • 200ml vegetable stock 
  • Couple of springs of rosemary
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Small handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the beef mixture:
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • For the lentil mixture:
  • 1 tin puy lentils 


  • For the champ topping, heat a pan of water, season with salt and add the potatoes and bring gently to the boil, simmer gently.

  • For the tomato sauce base, heat a large frying pan and add some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrots and celery and fry gently to soften a little for 5-10 minutes.

  • Add the tinned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, smoked paprika, bay leaves, red wine, vegetable stock and the rosemary.

  • Add the balsamic vinegar and some roughly chopped parsley and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.

  • At this stage the sauce needs to cook for a few minutes on a medium heat until the vegetables are soft and then it is ready to be divided in two.

  • For the beef mince: Heat a frying pan, add a pack of lean beef mince and fry off until the mince is a nice brown colour.

  • Transfer half the tomato sauce into the browned beef.

  • Add the tin of lentils to the remaining tomato sauce.

  • Leave both frying pans on the hob while you finish the champ.

  • Now finish off the champ topping. When the potatoes are almost done add the frozen peas and cook for a further minutes.

  • Chop the spring onions, melt a knob of butter in a small saucepan and then soften the onions in the butter.

  • Once the onions are softened add the milk and heat gently.

  • Drain the potatoes and peas and mash roughly.

  • Add the milk/butter/spring onion mixture to the potatoes and continue to mash until you have lovely chunky mash.

  • Spoon either some of the lentil or beef mixture into an individual pie dish.

  • Top each of the side dishes with half of the champ. Crumble over the cheese and smoked paprika

  • Place your individual shepherd’s pie on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 200ºC for about 25 – 30 minutes.

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Top Tip

Champ is a creamy Irish mashed potato dish with chopped spring onions mixed in. Sophie Dahl also uses peas and chunks of cheese in her champ to make it even more delicious.