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The epitome of simple, homey comfort food, Lebanese Shepherd’s Pie, also known as Potato Souffle is a casserole consisting of a perfectly cooked, spiced mixture of ground beef between two layers of creamy mashed potatoes, topped with breadcrumbs and baked to perfection!
Lebanese Shepherd’s Pie – batata bil sanieh
This potato souffle casserole dish is the Lebanese version of Shepherd’s Pie. It is also known batata souffle or batata bil sanieh in Arabic, where “batata” translates to “potato” and “bil saneieh” translates to “in a tray”.
Lebanese Shepherd’s Pie is made with a layer of ground beef, onions and nuts , spread between two layers of mashed potatoes and topped with breadcrumbs. The filling mixture is called “Hashweh”, the same mixture I use in my Kibbeh Bil Sanieh-Baked Kibbeh.
What You’ll Need to Make Lebanese Shepherd’s Pie- Potato Souffle:
- Potatoes — Pick the best potato possible, I always use Yukon golds or Russet potatoes.
- Salted water for boiling — not adding salt to the water will yield bland tasting potatoes.
- Softened unsalted butter — using unsalted ensures you have full control of how salty your mash comes out.
- Milk —if you want your mash to be really creamy then it’s full-fat all the way.
- Breadcrumbs — For a crunchy topping.
- Ground beef — 85 % lean.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onions — Diced.
- Salt and spices —Black pepper, all spice and cinnamon.
- Nuts — Such as walnuts and pine nuts.
- Pomegranate molasses — If available, it adds a dash of tanginess to the beef mixture, substitute for a squeeze of lemon juice.
COOK THE BEEF MIXTURE- HASHWEH:
- Cook the onions with olive oil until softened and lightly golden.
- Add the ground beef, salt and spices and cook with the onions until browned and cooked through.
- Fold in chopped walnuts, toasted pine nuts, if you’re using them, and pomegranate molasses.
- Set aside.
Make the Mashed Potatoes:
- Boil the potatoes, wash and peel the potatoes then cut them into quarters (to ensure they cook evenly), cover with water and a very generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until JUST fork-tender. Try not to over cook too much as they can become quite sticky when overcooked.
- Drain and dry the potatoes, once you’ve drained the cooked potatoes, put them back on a medium heat and dry them out for about 2 minutes.
- Add milk and butter, and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth, adding a little extra milk if needed.
Assemble the Potato Souffle:
- Preheat oven to 375 °F and lightly spray a large rectangular baking tray (11 x 8). I used a 9 inch oval tray, but I feel like those are harder to find. Either is fine 🙂
- Divide mashed into two even halves. Each half will make a layer.
- Moisten your hands a little with water and spread the first layer of mashed potatoes, by flattening it across the tray to form a smooth layer.
- Add a layer of the beef mixture- spread it across the mashed potato layer and press it down with a spoon.
- Add the last and top layer of the other half of mashed potatoes, also by flattening it until forming a smooth layer.
- Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.
- Serve with with salad and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you make it ahead of time?
This Lebanese casserole can be made ahead and placed in the fridge after been assembled. When ready to eat, simply place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.
What to Serve with Batata Souffle:
You can totally enjoy this Lebanese Shepherd’s pie by itself, but I also like to serve it with a simple green salad such as Lebanese Cabbage Salad, Lebanese Fattoush Salad, or Tabbouleh Salad is my favorite. Some people also serve it with hot sauce.
How to Store Lebanese Shepherd’s Pie:
- Once the potato souffle has cooled completely, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- This can also be frozen. To do this, place in a freezer safe container, it should keep well for up to 3 months.
- To reheat, let defrost in refrigerator and either place in oven on low temperature until heated through or scoop out servings and heat in the microwave.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- I love this potato souffle with ground beef, but you can also make it with ground lamb, chicken or turkey.
- Feel free to add in other veggies like peas, carrots or mushrooms if you like.
- You can also add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.