Shepherd's Pie

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Dig into this classic comfort food that consists of a savory meat and vegetable filling topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes and cheese. This recipe uses all fresh vegetables instead of frozen, making it more flavorful and nutritious. Learn how to make this easy and delicious dish with simple ingredients and steps.
Dinner
Freezer Friendly

Shepherd’s pie is a staple of British and Irish cuisine and has many variations around the world. The basic idea is to use up leftover meat and vegetables by covering them with mashed potatoes and baking them in the oven until golden and bubbly.

However, you don't need to wait for leftovers to make shepherd's pie. You can also make it from scratch with fresh ingredients, which will give you more control over the flavor and texture of the dish. In this recipe, we use lean ground beef, onion, garlic, carrot, peas, corn, and celery for the filling, and season it with Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, pepper, and beef broth. We also use fresh potatoes for the topping, and mash them with butter, milk, nutmeg, and cheese.

One thing to note is that technically, this dish has different names depending on the type of meat you use. If it’s made with lamb, it’s called shepherd’s pie, whereas if it’s made with beef it’s a cottage pie. However, many people use the terms interchangeably, and both dishes are equally delicious. So, feel free to call it whatever you like, as long as you enjoy it!

Customizing this Dish

You can easily customize this dish to suit your preferences and dietary needs. Here are some suggestions:

  • You really can use whatever type of ground meat you want here. If you’re not a fan of red meat, try using ground chicken or turkey instead.
  • If you want to make it vegetarian or vegan, you can use plant-based meat alternatives, vegetable broth, dairy-free butter and milk, and vegan cheese.
  • If you want to add more flavor and texture to the filling, you can add some red wine, bay leaves, rosemary, or parsley.
  • You can use just about any veggies you happen to have on hand, or even use ones that you froze in the peak of the last CSA season. This recipe is designed to be flexible based on what you have in your pantry or freezer. You can also use sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or celery root instead of or in addition to regular potatoes.

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

You can store the leftover shepherd's pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. reheat it, you can either:

  • Microwave it in a microwave-safe dish, covered with a damp paper towel, for about 10 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Bake it in a preheated oven at 375°F, covered with aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Freezing & Reheating

If you want to make the shepherd's pie ahead of time and freeze it for later, you can follow these steps:

Prepare the filling and the topping as instructed, but do not bake them. Spoon the filling into a freezer-safe baking dish and spread it evenly. Spoon the topping over the filling and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and label it with the name and date of the dish. Freeze the unbaked shepherd's pie for up to 3 months.

When you're ready to bake it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat the oven to 375°F and remove the plastic wrap and foil from the baking dish. Bake the shepherd's pie for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time:
20 min
Cook Time:
40 min
Total Time:
1 hour
Serves:
6
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Equipment Needed
  • 3 quart casserole or baking dish
  • potato masher
Ingredients
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of lean ground lamb or beef
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 3 quart casserole or baking dish.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the butter, milk, and nutmeg and mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and cook the onion, celery, and carrot, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain the excess fat.
  4. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, pepper, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and corn and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon the beef mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture and spread them evenly. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  6. Bake the shepherd’s pie for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve warm.
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