This Shepherd’s pie features a hearty filling of ground meat and veggies, topped with creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes, and baked until golden brown. It’s a simple, comforting meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights or cozy weekend dinners.
What is Shepherd’s pie?
Some people will say Shepherd’s pie is a classic British dish, while others believe it’s an Irish dish. It typically consists of a filling of ground meat and vegetables in a savory gravy, topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes, and baked until the top is golden brown.
Originally, this dish was created as a way to use up leftovers, and it has since become a beloved comfort food around the world.
The name “Shepherd’s pie” (also known as Cottage pie) is thought to come from the fact that it was traditionally made with lamb, which was a staple meat for shepherds in England.
However, these days, it’s common to see this dish made with ground beef and pork, as in this recipe. Some variations also include vegetables like carrots, peas, or corn, and some even add cheese to the mashed potato topping for an extra layer of flavor and richness.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Comforting flavor: The combination of tender meat, yummy veggies, and creamy mashed potatoes creates a delicious and comforting flavor profile that’s sure to satisfy.
- Versatility: The dish can be made with different meats, veggies, and even cheeses, so you can customize it to your liking.
- Make-ahead convenience: Shepherd’s pie can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer, making it a great option for busy weeknights or when you need a quick meal.
- Family-friendly: This dish is usually a hit with kids and adults alike, making it a great option for family meals.
- Cozy vibes: There’s just something about a warm, comforting dish like Shepherd’s pie that makes it perfect for chilly evenings or lazy weekends at home.
Ground beef and pork: not many people like the flavor of lamb, which is originally used as a meat option. I like the combination of beef and pork in this recipe. Pork has a higher fat content than beef, which helps to add flavor and moisture to the dish.
The textures of beef and pork are different, which adds depth and variety to the dish. Pork has a milder, sweeter flavor, while beef has a more robust, beefy flavor. Together, they create a well-rounded, flavorful dish.
Worcester (Worcestershire) sauce: adds a tangy, savory flavor to the dish, which helps to balance out the richness of the meat and gravy. It also adds depth and complexity to the dish, making it more interesting and flavorful.
Veggies: green peas, corn, carrots, and onions add not only color to the dish but also a touch of sweetness, texture, and flavor.
Parmesan cheese: I highly recommend you don’t skip this ingredient in the mashed potatoes. It adds a cheesy flavor to the mashed potatoes that elevates the overall dish and makes it taste even better.
How to make Shepherd’s pie: step by step
Note! For exact measurements and detailed directions, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Boil the potatoes until soft.
Step 2: Drain the water, add butter, hot milk, salt, and black pepper.
Mash the potatoes.
Step 3: Add the parmesan cheese.
Step 4: Cook onion in 2 tbsps butter until soft.
Step 5: Add minced garlic and chopped carrots.
Step 6: Add the ground meat, tomato paste, Worcester sauce, salt, black pepper, and paprika.
Step 7: Add the green peas, corn, and parsley.
Step 8: Transfer the ground meat mixture to a baking dish
Spread the mashed potatoes on top.
Step 9: Bake on the middle rack at 350F (180C) for 30 minutes or until golden on top.
Serve the Shepherd’s pie right away or cover it for later.
Additions and substitutions
Protein: You can substitute ground beef or pork with other meats, such as ground lamb, chicken, or turkey, or try a vegetarian option like lentils or beans.
Vegetables – In addition to traditional vegetables like carrots, peas, and onions, you can also add mushrooms, bell peppers, or spinach to the filling.
Topping: Instead of mashed potatoes, you can try a topping of sweet potatoes, cauliflower mash, or mashed parsnips.
Cheese: In addition to Parmesan cheese, you can also try adding cheddar or mozzarella cheese to the mashed potatoes for added flavor.
Herbs: Try adding fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or parsley to the filling or mashed potatoes to add depth and flavor.
Storage and reheating
Refrigerator storage – Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Freezer storage: You can also freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Allow the cooked Shepherd’s Pie to cool to room temperature, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Label the wrapped pie with the contents and the date, and place it in the freezer.
Reheating – To reheat the Shepherd’s Pie, cover it with foil and bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly. You can also microwave individual portions for a quick reheat.
It’s important to note that the texture of the mashed potatoes may change after reheating, becoming slightly less fluffy and creamy. However, the flavors will still be delicious and satisfying.
Can Shepherd’s pie be made in advance?
Yes, Shepherd’s Pie can be made in advance, which is a great time-saving option. You can assemble the Shepherd’s Pie up to a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator, covered, until you’re ready to bake it. This allows the flavors to meld together and intensify, making for a more flavorful and delicious final product.
When you’re ready to bake the Shepherd’s Pie, simply remove it from the refrigerator, uncover it, and bake it according to the recipe instructions. This will allow the mashed potato topping to become crispy and golden brown and the filling to heat through thoroughly.
Can shepherd’s pie be frozen?
Yes, Shepherd’s Pie can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve it, remove it from the freezer, unwrap it, and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
To reheat, remove the foil or plastic wrap and place the Shepherd’s Pie in a preheated 350°F oven, covered with foil, for 30-45 minutes, or until heated through.
Can shepherd’s pie be made with chicken?
Yes, Shepherd’s Pie can be made with chicken instead of the traditional ground beef or lamb. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly, as ground chicken cooks more quickly than ground beef or lamb.
Also, keep in mind that ground chicken has a milder flavor than beef or lamb, so you may want to add additional seasoning to the filling to ensure that it’s flavorful and robust.
Is shepherd’s pie gluten-free?
It depends on how the dish is made. Some recipes may use flour to thicken the gravy or bread crumbs in the mashed potatoes, which would make the dish not gluten-free.
To make Shepherd’s Pie gluten-free, simply omit any gluten-containing ingredients and use gluten-free substitutes, such as cornstarch.
Are Shepherd’s pie and cottage pie the same?
Shepherd’s Pie is typically made with ground lamb, while Cottage Pie is usually made with ground beef.
More recipes to try
BROWN BUTTER MASHED POTATOES WITH CRISPY GARLIC – It’s the perfect side dish that goes pretty much with anything. Plus, it’s very easy to make and ready in no time.
KUFTE: THE BEST ZUCCHINI AND CHEESE MEAT PATTIES – They are very easy to make, and they go well with any side dish: salad, pasta, potatoes, veggies, or anything you can think of.
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VIDEO: Shepherd’s pie
Easy Shepherd’s pie recipe
- 2 pounds Yukon potatoes 1 kg
- 8 + 2 tbsp Butter 143g
- 1/2 cup Hot milk 130ml
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese 32g
- 1 cup Chopped yellow onion 143g
- 3-4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/4 cup Carrots 167g
- 1.50 pounds Ground meat (beef and pork mix) 680g
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 cup Green peas, fresh or frozen 150g
- 1 cup Corn, fresh or frozen 150g
- 1/4 cup Chopped fresh parsley
- Boil the potatoes until soft.
- Drain the water. Add 8 tablespoons butter, hot milk, salt, and black pepper. Mash the potatoes until smooth and puree-like.
- Add the parmesan cheese. Mix it in. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
- Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons butter until soft.
- Add minced garlic and chopped carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the ground meat, tomato paste, Worcester sauce, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Mix and cook for a minute.
- Then add the green peas, corn, and parsley. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the ground meat mixture to a baking dish about 12 by 9 inches (31x23cm). Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Bake on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes or until golden on top.