Spooky Pumpkin Cottage Pies

Monday 20 October 2014

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There were so many lovely goodies in the hamper that I couldn't just leave it at one recipe.  I decided that I wanted to make another heartier dish that would make a fabulous supper for the kids on Halloween night!  Although good luck to you if you can get your kids to settle down and eat supper on that day.  I never could, but I think that maybe had I created a dish such as this for them back then, they would have had a hard time resisting it!

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Once again I used ingredients which had been sent to me in that lovely Halloween Challenge Hamper from Unilever.

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There was a packet of Coleman's Shepherd's Pie mix in the hamper and I decided to use this to create some Spooky Pumpkin Shepherd's Pies, using orange sweet bell peppers for the pumpkins.  If you can't get this pack of mix, don't fear as I have given alternative instructions and ingredients at the end of my recipe!

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I don't know about you, but I think they ended up being really cute!  As a child I don't think I would have been able to resist digging into one of these.  I think the kids would really enjoy them!

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Of course there was a bit too much of the mix to just fill the peppers, but you can bake the extras in a casserole dish along side of the peppers.  That way people can have second helpings and trust me when I tell you they just well might!

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Just who can resist a flavourful casserole of mince topped with a cheese and onion flavoured mix of floury potato and sweet potato mash!  Not me, that's who!!

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*Spooky Pumpkin Cottage Pies*
Serves 4 to 6

Something tasty to feed your little ghouls on Halloween.  A delicious cottage pie mix stuffed into a sweet pepper, topped with a sweet potato mash and then baked in the oven until the peppers are soft and succulent and the cottage pie is bubbling and the mash is golden brown.   BOO!  

1 package of Colman's Shepherd's Pie mix
450g of extra lean beef mince (1 1/4 pounds)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 parsnip, peeled and grated
a piece of swede (rutabaga) about the size of your fist, peeled and grated
salt and black pepper to taste
a splash of Worcestershire sauce
4 to 6 orange bell peppers
For the mash:
1 pound of floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
60ml of warmed milk (1/4 cup)
1 TBS butter
181g of grated strong cheddar cheese ( 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 a small onion grated
salt and black pepper to taste   

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Slice the top off of each pepper and reserve.   Remove and discard the seeds and membranes.   Trim the bottoms slightly if you need to in order that they will stand upright without falling over.  Using a sharp knife cut some jack-o-lantern eyes and noses out of each.  Set into a shallow baking dish and set aside while you make the filling.  

Follow the package directions for the shepherd's pie mix using the ground beef and onion.   Add the grated vegetables to it, along with a splash of worcestershire sauce and simmer as per instructions.  Taste and adjust seasonings as required. (Note, if you don't have this mix see below)  Set aside while you make the mash.  

To make the mash put the potatoes, both sweet and floury, into a saucepan of lightly salted water to cover.  Bring to the boil and cook for  10 to 13 minutes until fork tender.   Drain well and then return to the pot.  Shake over the residual heat of the burner to dry them out a bit and then mash them well adding the warm milk and butter.  Stir in 3/4 of the grated cheese and grated onion.  Season to taste with some salt and pepper.  

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Divide the mince mixture between the peppers in the baking dish, filling them up to the top.  (You may have too much, but just put the extra into a small buttered casserole dish.)  Spoon the mash on top of the mince mix, scatter on a bit of the reserved cheese and top with the reserved tops.  ( Any extra mash and cheese can be spooned out on top of the mince in the casserole dish.)    

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes until heated through, the peppers are tender and the potatoes are slightly browned.  Serve hot.    

Note - If you cannot get the packaged mix for the meat mixture use the following recipe adding the grated vegetables:

1 TBS vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 pound lean minced beef
1 14 ounce tin of chopped tomatoes in their own juice
1 cup of strong beef stock
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp summer savoury
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and garlic, and gently cook them in the hot oil until the onion begins to soften.  Add the minced beef and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, until the beef begins to brown.   Add the tomatoes, grated vegetables,  worcestershire sauce, beef stock, summer savoury and thyme.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Proceed  as per above recipe.

Many thanks to the people at Unilever for sending me this lovely Halloween Challenge Hamper!

Happy Halloween!!


  1. So so so so cute Marie..and Todd too!

  2. Thanks Monique! I am betting all your boys, large and small, would love this! xx

  3. what is a piece of 'sweet'? thx!

  4. That should say Swede (rutabaga). Am on iPad and will have to change it 2moro.

  5. These are so darn cute Marie and I'm sure tastes wonderful too! xoxo

  6. I did quite like them Valerie! So did Todd! xxoo


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