Want a crave-able dinner recipe that is easy to make, healthy and covers lunch and dinner for a few days? This easy Shepherd’s Pie meets all those requirements AND is on my super-tasty comfort food list. Whip this dish up in under 45 minutes using only a pan, bowl, baking dish and mashing device.
Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb, hence the name Shepherd’s Pie. Add gravy and finish with mashed potato crust, voila deliciousness. It is a traditional dish belonging to the British, Irish and Scottish. The Scottish dish was originally prepared with pastry instead of potato according to the Oxford Companion to Food . Make it with beef or turkey and the dish is called Cottage Pie.
Don’t be intimidated! The process is easy despite the long ingredient list. All the ingredients should be familiar. Bonus: you can substitute seasonal vegetables from your garden (or farmer’s market) and this dish will always be fresh.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients
- 3 Lbs Yukon Gold potatoes cubed
- 3 TBS butter
- 1/2 C whole milk
- 1 large egg, separate yolk from white
- 1-2 C cheddar or colby cheese shredded
- 3-4 medium size garlic cloves
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 2 carrots, quartered and chopped
- 1 yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 carton of mini portobello mushrooms sliced
- 2 LBS ground lamb, beef or turkey
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 C frozen peas
- 3-4 medium size garlic cloves
- 4 TBS butter
- 4 TBS flour
- 2 C beef or vegetable stock Or Substitute 1 C for Red Wine
- 4 Tsp Worcestershire
Lets get to cooking this easy Shepherd’s Pie!
Clean and cube your potatoes, then boil them in a large skillet of salted water for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse potatoes, place into large bowl and add butter. Now set the potatoes aside and rinse out the skillet.
While the potatoes boil, chop onion, carrots, mushrooms and peel garlic. When the skillet is rinsed, add olive oil and meat and begin to brown over medium heat. If meat is excessively fatty as lamb often is, spoon away some of the drippings at this point. Then add chopped vegetables, mushrooms, salt and pepper to the pan about halfway through cooking.
Once meat is cooked through reduce heat to medium-low and and add peas, pressed garlic and butter and stir. Preheat broiler on high. Sprinkle flour all over the meat mixture, then mix well and cook for 1 minute. Now add 1 cup Beef Stock (or wine), and allow to reduce for about 4 minutes. Next add beef stock and Worcestershire and reduce to a nice thick gravy. Remove from heat.
Add egg yolk, pressed garlic, cheese and milk to the potatoes and blend on low or mash using a masher. Since I keep the skin on the potato, I like to mash with a blender on low. However, I am careful to make sure I don’t over blend, else i’d end up with a gluey mess. Blend until ingredients are just mixed, and there aren’t any large chunks of potato left (smallish potato pieces are okay).
Take a 9×13 baking dish and an 8×8 baking dish and wipe baking surface with olive oil. Spread meat and gravy mixture into the bottom of each pan. Finally, top each with mashed potatoes and then sprinkle with paprika.
Place one easy Shepherd’s Pie in the oven (on High-Broil setting) with the rack close to the top of the oven. Broil for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally, until the top of the potatoes are slightly crusted over and are golden brown. Remove from heat and serve. Don’t forget your glass of of wine on the counter. Enjoy!
Cover and freeze the other Shepherd’s Pie to save it for a quick meal another day.
Indeed, this may just be one of my favorite comfort food casseroles. Below are some additional options to spice it up!
Optional additional seasonings:
For lamb, beef or elk:
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp celery salt in place of regular salt
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1-2 TBS McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Seasoning