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Passover Shepherd’s Pie

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Passover Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie) is a simple-to-make, delicious dish that you can have any time during the week of Passover and even on the day of the seder!

Kosher Shepherd's (cottage) pie in a clear glass rectangular casserole dish on a white wood table

The dish is called Shepherd’s Pie when it contains lamb or mutton (from adult sheep) and Cottage Pie when it contains beef.

There seems to be some dispute where the dish originated; Ireland or Britain and probably during the 18th century.

There does seem to be agreement on the idea that the original was made with leftovers (from Sunday dinner?), because people were poor and had to be frugal and this way food didn’t go to waste.

Many recipes that are not kosher include Worcestershire sauce, however so for a recipe that does not include it, soy sauce can be used. However, soy is not kosher for Passover, so that sauce cannot be used on the holiday.

While the recipe contains carrots, I personally do not like cooked carrots (and hate having to pick them out), so I don’t put them in when I make this dish.

Passover Shephard’s Pie is actually a kosher for Passover version of cottage pie as it contains ground beef and not mutton. It also contains no matzo or matzo meal or cake meal, so it can be eaten on the day of the seder!

A little of my cooking background

I really wanted to title this blog “If I can make it, anyone can”, because – honestly – if I can make it, anyone can.

I never really liked cooking and when I was single, a meal for me meant grilled cheese, eggs, tuna, or something else that didn’t require effort or time.

When my kids were young, I was still able to get away with preparing only a small variety of easy meals, but the older they got, the more dishes I learned to make at their request.

Still, I insisted on keeping it simple.

Honestly, I never understood why some cooks unnecessarily complicate meals. I have seen recipes that have several ingredients that don’t really seem to add much, if anything, to the dish. So, why bother?

It has always been important to me that whoever eats at my table will have plenty to enjoy and that includes my kids (I never agreed with the “You will eat what is served or you won’t eat” ideology) and, because I keep it simple, I can prepare a variety of dishes in a relatively short period of time.

I have a philosophy regarding being a great cook: Prepare food according to the tastes of those who will be eating it and they will love your cooking!

As far as I am concerned, start with the basic ingredients that make the dish what it is, adapt according to taste, and voila! you are an amazing cook!

The bottom line is that while there are certainly delicate recipes out there for specialty dishes, making delicious meals doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It’s not difficult to impress – just make sure it tastes good.

While some of the recipes on my blog are more time-consuming than others, they are all tried and true easy-shmeezy!

Of course, one always has to consider the conditions under which they cook. Weather (humidity, heat, cold), different types of ovens, different quality of pots, etc. – all of which can affect your cooking and baking.

Nevertheless, as I said, if I can do it, anyone can!

Food on Passover

Torah observant Jews do not eat chametz (the fermented products of five grains: wheat, spelt, barley, oats and rye).

In addition, Torah observant Ashkenazi Jews do not eat kitniyot (or kitniyos as pronunced in Ashkenazi Hebrew). These include: legumes, corn, rice, and similar that were deemed forbidden to eat by rabbis in the medieval period and are still not eaten today. Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews do not follow this tradition.

Many ovservant Ashkenazi Jews will not even eat the derivatives of these kitniyot, while others do (each family holds their own traditions regarding this).

Then, there are Ashkenazim who don’t eat “gebrochts”.

Gebrochts means “broken” in Yiddish – and in this case refers to matza that has absorbed liquid. Not eating gebrochts is observed by many in the Hasidic Jewish community and Ashkenazim who have taken on this tradition where they basically don’t mix anything wet with matza.

So, things like matzo sandwhiches, fried matzo, and even matzo balls are a no-no for them.

There is a joke that sums it all up:

On Passover, we should remember people who have little to eat on this holiday. They are called Ashkenazim.

Over the years, I have learned to adapt “normal” food for passover so that my family won’t complain about boring, tasteless, or repetitive meals.

I find that having good food and variety makes the week of Passover a very pleasant experience and I hope this recipe will help make yours just that!

Eating matzo on the day of the seder

Jews who keep the laws of Passover do not eat matzo or any foods that contain anything from matzo (such as matzo meal or matzo cake meal) the entire day before the seder, which is in the evening.

Some people even have the custom of not eating such foods from two weeks before, beginning on Rosh Chodesh Nissan or even as far back as Purim, which is a month before.

Since this recipe does not contain matzo or any matzo derivative, it is perfectly fine to have it during that period of time.

Kosher for Passover Pantry Essentials (Suggestion)

As I learned to prepare more and more recipes for Passover, I also learned which basics and seasonings are good to have on hand to have the ability to make a dish on short notice – especially during the holiday – and not have to run out to the store or borrow from a neighbor.

While I will admit that I am not always prepared when one of my kids will ask for eggplant parmesan or something at the drop of a hat (which they have done), I dislike having to postpone making something just because the ingredients needed to make a reasonable meal were not readily available.

So, I maintain selection of what I consider “kosher for Passover pantry essentials” in my refrigerator and on my shelves during the week of Passover (some of the dry goods, I keep from year to year, stored well).

While, of course, most of the essentials will not be needed just for any one recipe, at least some of them are needed for most recipes, and you would be surprised how many recipes be made just with this list. So, if you make sure to have whatever you use regularly on hand, it can really save you time and effort.

Everyone has their favorite recipes, preferred seasoning, and just whatever they like to use to cook. Your own list should certainly reflect your own cooking tastes and style. Just make sure that everything is Kosher for Passover (KP) and if you are Ashkenazi, that list will be shorter than if you are not.

Make sure to check with a qualified rabbi if you have any questions.

Following is a pretty comprehensive list of what you can choose from to keep on hand. I keep quite a bit of it.

Seasoning and flavoring:

  • salt
  • ground black or white pepper
  • granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • ground cinnamon
  • sugar (granulated)
  • brown sugar
  • chicken consomme powder
  • onion soup mix
  • various herbs
  • additional spices to adapt taste to preference


  • oil / margarine / butter / cooking spray
  • potato starch as a thickening agent
  • baking powder
  • matzo cake meal (matzo meal, but ground into a powder)
  • condiments – such as ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce
  • tomato sauce/tomato paste/canned tomatoes – diced or crushed/pasta sauce

We always have eggs in the fridge and onions, and potatoes on our shelves (if we were not Ashkenazi, I would certainly keep rice as well).

In addition, having some fresh vegetables in the fridge, such as carrots, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers (red, green, etc), etc. can be very useful when putting together a quick, but delicious meal.

It is also a good idea to have some ground meat or chicken (breast, ground, or in parts), in the freezer for anyone who likes meat dishes in a snap.

Why are these pantry essentials beneficial to have on hand?

Personally, having the above ingredients in my kitchen is very advantageous, as I make a variety of dishes and use most of the items on the list regularly.

Whether or not buying a bunch of herbs, spices, etc. before you know what you are going to make for the week it is workable for you depends on your own personal preference.

Of course, the more you cook and the more varied your recipes, the more you will use, and the more you will need.

If you plan your meals ahead for the week, you will be prepared with whatever else you might need that you wouldn’t even normally keep in your passover pantry.

If you do decide to keep them over from year to year, I would only do so if they can be sealed well (or better yet, stored in the freezer), because not only can weather have an affect on some of the spices and on the chicken consommé powder, but you will be surprised to know just how clever moths are at getting into sealed bags and how hot red pepper powder can attract little black bugs – YUCK!.

Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Passover Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie (cottage pie) in a clear glass rectangular casserole dish on a white wood table

Delicious cottage pies (made from ground beef), kosher for Passover

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 pound kosher ground beef (or kosher ground lamb) *
  • 2 pounds potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces chopped carrot (or 1 can drained diced carrots, kosher for Passover, or 2-3 medium carrots, diced or chopped), optional
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, kosher for Passover
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, kosher for Passover
  • 1 tablespoon oil, kosher for Passover
  • 2 tablespoon beef bullion powder or chicken consommé powder (or to taste), kosher for Passover
  • 1/2 cup water
  • large splash of kosher for passover soy sauce (leave out if you don't have it)


    1. Heat oil in a sauté pan on a medium heat.
    2. Add onion and carrots and cook until tender, mixing occasionally.
    3. Add ground beef or lamb and crumble or mash so there are no chunks.
    4. Cook until brown. If there is excess fat, pour out.
    5. Add tomato paste and mix well.
    6. Pour in water and beef or chicken consomme powder and mix well.
    7. Pour mixture into a suitable size baking dish.
    8. Add the mayonnaise to the mashed potatoes (from the ingredient list) and mix well.
    9. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the meat mixture.
    10. Ruffle the potatoes with a fork (optional) and place the pan or dish in an oven that has been preheated to 350°F.
    11. Bake for around 30 - 40 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown a little.


* Shepherd's pie is made with lamb or mutton, cottage pie is made with beef.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 478Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 165mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 29g

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