Thursday, March 19, 2015

shepherd's pie

All my life I thought Shepherd's Pie was a bland casserole consisting of ground beef seasoned with salt and pepper, a layer of creamed corn, and then topped with mashed potatoes.  It was then baked until heated through.  I liked it at the time and thought it was just fine...until I made this recipe.

This is my favorite Shepherd's Pie recipe.  Until I find another one, anyway.  It's got deep flavor and it's easy to make. Yes, it takes a little time if you don't already have the mashed potatoes made, but it's worth it.

If you don't have mashed potatoes already made, or raw potatoes to make mashed potatoes, just buy a packaged potato mix.  Yes, I said that.  I've used these mixes many times.  Hey, it's easy and I'm all about easy.  Plus it saves a lot of time if you want dinner within the hour.  If you use a packaged mix, go for a flavored one like four cheese or sour cream and chives.  It gives the pie that much more flavor.

I'm happy to report that I didn't have to buy anything to make this.  Let me rephrase that:  I didn't have the shredded cheddar cheese I usually use, BUT I had taco flavored shredded cheese.  I know, it sounds odd to use taco flavored cheese on an Irish dish, but that's what I had on hand and I didn't want to go out and buy more cheese.  It actually gave the dish some more flavor since I had just plain mashed potatoes to use today.

So, here's the dish in process.  Recipe below.  I adapted this from a recipe I found online.

The beef mixture before it goes in the baking pan.

All browned and ready to eat!

My portion.  I ate about one cup.

A very thick layer of potatoes. I wanted to use up every bit I had so I didn't stick to the recipe on this part.  I did not make the Cheesy Mashed Potatoes recipe it calls for below.  I just used my leftover potatoes and topped with shredded cheese.

Shepherd's Pie

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds lean ground beef or lamb (I use beef)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows*
(*Note:  I usually use plain mashed potatoes and top with shredded cheddar cheese.  You can use a packaged flavored mashed potato mix if you want. Or you can make this recipe.)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Add butter and oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Saute onions, celery, and garlic until tender for about 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Once the vegetables have softened and start to brown a little add the tomato paste and mix evenly. 
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until beef is no longer pink about 10 minutes. 
  5. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook and simmer for another 10 minutes. 
  6. Mix in peas and carrots. 
  7. Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish and spread evenly. Place potato on top of ground beef mixture and spread out evenly.  If you are using anything other than plain mashed potatoes, rake through with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. If you're using plain potatoes, simply top with shredded cheese.
  8. Place the dish into the preheated oven and cook until browned about 20 minutes. Spoon out the shepherd's pie and serve. 

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes 

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, quartered
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated mature white Cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Fill a large saucepan with cold water and a tablespoon of salt. 
  2. Add potatoes to the water and bring to a boil. Let potatoes cook until soft about 20 minutes. 
  3. Once the potatoes are at a desired density, drain the potatoes and place them back into the saucepan for mashing. 
  4. Add butter and cream and begin to mash potatoes into a semi smooth consistency. 
  5. Once at desired texture add cheese and mix well. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

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