How To Make Shepherd’s Pie From Scratch

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Classic Shepherds Pie Recipe

We Try Making Shepherds Pie From Scratch!

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Meaty, savory, and comforting, shepherds pie is a classic dish of English origin filled with meat and veggies topped with a mashed potato crust. Dont be fooled by the lengthy ingredients though because this dinner delight is one of the easiest ever. Perfect for prep or a weekend dinner on a chilly night, my family always asks for my shepherds pie recipe when the temperatures are plummeting outside and I have a feeling yours will too!

How To Make Shepherds Pie

  • Sauté some chopped onions in olive oil.
  • Add ground beef or ground lamb.
  • Add dried parsley, dried thyme, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir and cook the meat mixture until the meat is browned.
  • Add minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Cook the garlic for a minute.
  • Add flour and tomato paste.
  • Add beef broth, frozen mixed peas and carrots, and frozen corn kernels.
  • Simmer the meat gravy until it is thick.
  • Boil some peeled and chopped potatoes until they are soft.
  • Drain the potatoes
  • Add butter, half & half, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Mash the potatoes until smooth.
  • Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish.
  • Top it with the cheesy mashed potatoes.
  • Bake until the meat is bubbling and the potatoes are golden.

The Special Topping: Cauliflower And Potato Mash

One other change from traditional shepherds pie is the topping: Its a blend of cauliflower and potatoes! This means fewer carbs and calories , but more importantly, the added health benefits of cauliflower.

The recipe calls for sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, which plays off of the cauliflower and adds a pleasing crust when baked.

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Prep This Ahead Of Time

If you plan to make this ahead of time, I suggest keeping the mashed potatoes and filing separate at first. Store them away in the fridge in sealed containers. When youre ready to bake, let the potatoes and filling sit at room temperature to soften before assembling. Then, pop it right into the oven for baking.

When it comes time to freeze leftovers, just place them in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months. This could be a great option if you also plan to meal prep this on a Sunday night. Just bake it, divide it into 6 sections, and freeze it!

What Youll Need For Cottage Pie:

The Ultimate Shepherd
  • Meat: this cottage pie calls for ground beef and sausage but depending on the type of savory pie you want to make, you can use ground lamb , or essentially any leftover meat in your fridge.
  • Spices: fresh thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  • Vegetables: onion, celery, carrots, corn, and peas.
  • Mashed potatoes: made homemade, or in the Instant Pot, or use leftovers!
  • Gravy ingredients: garlic, flour, beef stock, tomato paste, beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce.
  • Cheese: parmesan cheese goes in the mashed potatoes and shredded cheddar cheese is added on top before baking.

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Cottage Pie Vs Shepherds Pie

Cottage pie is a meat pie that is topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven. Its often confused with Shepherds pie because, up to the 20th century, the names were used interchangeably. Now, cottage pie and shepherds pie differ only in the type of ground meat they are made with. Cottage pie has historically been made with any type of meat but is most commonly made with ground beef where Shepherds pie is made with lamb. Both pies are cooked with vegetables and gravy and baked under a layer of mashed potatoes.

For Shepherds Pie, simply substitute ground lamb for the meat in the recipe and keep everything else the same!

What’s The Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie And Cottage Pie

Shepherd’s pie was originally called cottage pie back in the 18th century in Ireland and the United Kingdom as a way to describe a dish made by frugal cottage dwellers to use up leftovers. These days, the two terms are often used interchangeably, but in general, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef. The mashed potato topper could be replaced with mashed turnips or other root vegetables, or even with a pastry crust .

Related: Our Top 10 Shepherd’s Pie Recipes

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What Is Shepards Pie

If youre new to Shepherds Pie , let me be the first to welcome you to your new favourite comfort food. Essentially, its lamb and veggies smothered in a gravy and who doesnt love an excuse for tons and tons of gravy?

All those times you were limited to just a small drizzle on a few slices of roast lamb because there wasnt enough to go around Bah! This is how you get your gravy fix!!

What Is The Difference Between Shepherds Pie And Cottage Pie

Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie – Blast from the Past

Oh the terminology of Shepherds Pie vs. Cottage Pie. There are some strong opinions out there. Cottage pie has been in use since 1791, when the potato was introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor. The term shepherds pie has been used synonymously with cottage pie since 1877, regardless of the type of meat used, mutton or beef. More recently, the term shepherds pie has been used when the meat is lamb, and cottage pie when the meat is beef. We like to refer to it as a Shepherds Pie, no matter what meat goes inside of it.

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How To Freeze Healthy Shepherds Pie

Once the shepherds pie is baked, cool completely and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place it in the freezer until fairly firm, about two hours. Then, cover tightly with plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Mark the date on the outside and store in the freezer for up to two months.

When ready to serve, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Use the foil you just removed to loosely cover the pie. Make sure that your casserole dish can go straight from freezer to oven if not, set the casserole in the oven while the oven preheats so that the dish warms slowly.

Bake the casserole for an hour, or until the pie is hot all the way through. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to allow the top to brown.

How To Make The Filling

  • Saute Beef saute ground meat in oil, breaking it up with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper. Add onions and saute 3 minutes until softened then add garlic and stir another minute.
  • Add flour and stir for a minute.
  • Pour in red wine and scrape the bottom to deglaze the pan.
  • Add broth, tomato paste and worcestershire sauce, stirring to combine.
  • Add frozen vegetables, bring to a light boil and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer 10 minutes until sauce is. slightly thickened.
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    How To Make It

    We start by boiling up some potatoes for the mash.

    Whilst that’s cooking, we fry up onion, carrot and celery in a little oil until softened. Add the minced lamb and brown, then add in Worcestershire sauce and stock and let it simmer. Stir in a little cornstarch slurry to thicken.

    PRO TIP – I add in a lot more stock then you think you might need this is so you have enough liquid for gravy later)

    Then we use a slotted spoon to spoon the minced lamb mixture into the baking dish.This will ensure there’s still some sauce with the minced lamb, but will also leave plenty of sauce behind in the pan – which we’ll reheat for gravy afterwards.

    When the potatoes are tender you want to mash them.

    PRO TIP – for the perfect creamy mashed potato. Mash using a potato ricer for extra smooth mash, and stir in plenty of cream, butter, salt and pepper .

    Top the minced lamb with scoops of mashed potato and then ruffle up the topping with a fork. The more ruffles = the more crispy bits.

    Place in the preheated oven at 200C/400F for about 20 minutes until golden.

    Does anyone else purposely leave a heap of mashed potato in the pan after dishing the rest up, then hover over the bowl, ‘testing’ it by eating it straight off the oversized wooden spoon you mixed the mash with? Ahh I love the chef’s treats.

    When it comes out of the oven it should be lovely and crisp on top with sauce bubbling up at the edges .

    Shepherds Pie Vs Cottage Pie


    When Shepherds Pie first originated, it was made with lamb. It has since evolved, especially in America, to include a variety of red meats . Per Wikipedia:

    Shepherds pie, cottage pie, or hachis Parmentier is a ground meat pie with a crust or topping of mashed potato of English origin. The recipe has many variations, but the defining ingredients are ground red meat cooked in a gravy or sauce with onions, and topped with a layer of mashed potato before it is baked

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    What Is Shepherds Pie

    Originating from the early 1800s, shepherds pie is a traditional Irish recipe. Its a hearty dish where women had to get creative with leftovers. Similar to how we create leftover casseroles today!

    The basic structure is having a savory minced lamb filling topped with a layer of mashed potatoes. The filling is usually simmered with onions, carrots, celery, and peas.

    Sounds like a cottage pie right? Except, cottage pie uses beef and shepherds pie uses lamb or mutton. So when you eat a Shepherds pie in the US that swaps ground beef for lamb, thats truly a cottage pie, not a Shepherds pie. Oh, semantics.

    If you dont eat a lot of lamb, I say give this traditional version a try. I think youll love it! But no matter which type of meat you choose, this is true comfort food that will warm you from the inside out during the winter months.

    To Assemble A Shepherds Pie

  • Transfer the Meat Sauce into a pie dish or casserole.
  • Top with scoops of potatoes then spread potatoes evenly over the filling. An ice cream scoop makes this easy.
  • Drizzle with melted butter and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes or until potatoes start to turn golden.
  • Pro Tip: Shepherds Pie can be made ahead which is perfect for the holidays or busy weeknights. See the Make-ahead section below for tips on refrigerating or freezing the pie.

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    Whats The Difference Between Cottage Pie And Shepherds Pie

    The difference between both of these pies is the protein. While most Americans think they are eating Shepherds pie, they are actually eating Cottage pie. Here are the proteins:

    • Cottage Pie Beef with sliced potatoes on top, similar to scalloped potatoes.
    • Shepherds Pie Lamb with mashed potatoes.

    Make The Mashed Potato Topping:

    How to Cook the Best Homemade Shepards Pie from Scratch

    Add peeled, chopped potatoes to heavily salted boiling water and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

    Drain the water and add the potatoes back to the pot. Add the butter, cream, yogurt, egg yolks, salt, and pepper mash together until you have a really smooth consistency.

    Taste and adjust for salt if necessary.

    Spread the mashed potato mixture over your meat and vegetable filling in your baking dish.

    Fluff the potatoes lightly with a fork and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

    Place in the oven for 20 minutes until the pie is warmed through and the top is evenly browned. You may need to turn your broiler on for a few minutes at the end to achieve really nice browning. Watch the pie carefully at this stage to ensure it doesnt burn.

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    How This Pie Is Different From Traditional Shepherds Pie

    The shepherds pie of my upbringing features a hefty portion of meat, with vegetables playing a supporting role, and a thick topping of buttery mashed potatoes. My updated version bumps up the ratio of vegetables to meat and calls for extra-lean ground beef, which is the leanest option in the butcher case.

    For the mashed potatoes, the recipe swaps in olive oil for butter, which means more heart-healthy fats in every bite. The sum total of these swaps is a lighter dish with no shortcuts on flavor.

    How To Make Deviled Eggs:

    • Cut the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise.
    • Pop out the yolks and put them in a mixing bowl.
    • Mash the yolks with the back of a fork until no large clumps remain.
    • Add the mayo, mustard, pickle juice, and pepper to the bowl. Mix it together.
    • Transfer the yolk mixture to a plastic food storage bag.
    • Squeeze and roll the bag around in your fingers until the yolk mixture is completely smooth.
    • Cut one corner off of the bag to create a piping bag.
    • Pipe the yolk mixture into the holes of the egg whites.
    • Serve cold.

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    Classic Homemade Shepherds Pie Recipe

    Posted on

    You will absolutely love this classic shepherds pie with the most amazing mashed potatoes and lamb filling of all time.

    Ive always said that I am a comfort food cooker. I want to make food that is delicious and brings people to the table with smiles. If youre the same way then you have to try my Corned Beef and Cabbage or Chicken Fricassee.

    Expert Tips And Tricks For The Perfect Shepherds Pie Every Time

    how to make SHEPHERD
    • Yes, you can use leftover mashed potatoes. If you have a bounty of mashed potatoes from last nights dinner, you can totally turn that into your topper for traditional shepherds pie. If you dont have the time for proper mashed potatoes, you can always make shepherds pie with instant potatoes.
    • You can also use sweet potatoes if youd prefer. This gives it a sweet and savory contrast.
    • Dry seasonings are best in homemade Shepherds pie. Because you need to cook them into the meat filling, you should turn to your spice rack for your herbs.
    • You can make it meatless. Just substitute the stock for a veggie one and choose mushrooms rather than meat.

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    How Do You Make Shepherds Pie From Scratch

    To make this recipe for Shepherds pie with ground beef, you start out by making the meat filling. Combine all the ingredients for that and simmer together. Once its ready, you can get the oven pre-heated. Then youll make your mashed potatoes. After you have them ready, you can assemble this casserole in a baking dish with the meat mixture on the bottom and the mashed potatoes on top. Bake it uncovered for 30 minutes, let it cool for about 15 minutes, and then serve.

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