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Monday, January 19, 2015

Shepherd's Pie - The perfect makeahead dish

Casseroles became wildly popular in the 1950s as women joined the workforce and looked for quicker and easier ways to make dinner without a lot of fuss. They're great for leftovers and you can get a lot of extra meals out of them.

Shepherd's pie is made with lamb, but if you make it with beef is called cottage pie. You can make this recipe with either meat, both are delicious.

  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground lamb (or 93% lean beef, since you won't be draining it must be lean!)
  • 1/2 cup dry wine (white or red)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 rounded tablespoons of flour
  • 1 package frozen peas and carrots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of prepared mashed potatoes (I use instant) with 2 eggs mixed in
Filling Instructions:
  1. Heat the butter over high heat just until it melts.
  2. Add the mushrooms and saute just until brown, about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low and sweat the onions slowly until caramelized.
  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, wine, soy sauce and meat then simmer over low heat until the meat is cooked and almost all of the liquid has evaporated. 
  5. Add the beef broth and continue simmering over load heat until almost evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. The goal here is to simmer the meat low and slow as you would a pot roast, not brown the meat as if making tacos.
  6. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, check for flavor and add additional salt or pepper if needed.
  7. Sprinkle with the 2 tbsp flower over and stir in until well mixed and slightly browned. The remaining liquid will thicken a bit, almost like gravy.
  8. Add the frozen peas and carrots and cook until the carrots are soft, about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat.
Final Steps:
  1. Put the filling in whatever you plan to serve it in. (We leave it in the skillet since it's oven-safe.)
  2. Scoop the potato topping into a 1 gallon freezer bag.
  3. Cut a 1" hole in the corner of the bag and pipe onto the filling as if you were icing a cake. (Since the filling is like gravy and the potatoes are heavy, this is the easiest way to do it.)
  4. Smooth the top of the potatoes, then drag a fork across the top to create little ridges that will get delicious and crispy brown in the oven.
  5. Broil until it begins to brown slightly.
If you're making this ahead, go ahead and complete all the way to the end. It reheats very well in the microwave (on individual plates) or in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes.

What do you like in your shepherd's pie?


  1. Shepherd's pie (which is traditionally more English than Irish, although commonly found in both countries, their culinary heritage is quite similar after all), is made with ground lamb. If you made it with ground beef, it's cottage pie.

  2. Thank you for pointing that out! I've edited the post to reflect it.