Everything You Love About Shepherds Pie But Way Easier
Shepherds pie and its brethren really got their start as a way to use up stewed or roasted meat and leftover vegetables, but it has since come to represent a comforting Sunday night dinner. Its a shame, really, that we dont eat Shepherds pie more regularly, because a chilly Tuesday night is actually when we need this cozy dish the most.
Here, weve figured out how to simplify the recipe without sacrificing the deliciousness of everyones favorite part: the potatoes.
Shepherds Pie Versus Cottage Pie
Can Shepherds Pie Be Frozen
Shepherds pie can be frozen after baking or prior to baking.
- After baking: Bake as stated in the instructions, then cool and cover tightly with plastic wrap and then foil.
- Before baking: Assemble everything directed except for the cheese. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then foil.
Shepherds pie can be frozen for up to 2 months as long as you have tightly wrapped the dish in saran wrap and foil.
Ingredients For Shepherds Pie
- Ground Beef we used lean beef, or you can substitute with ground lamb.
- Salt and Pepper after several tests, we found this simple seasoning is all that is needed. Thyme and rosemary are commonly added but we found it overpowering in any quantity.
- Onion we used yellow onion, but you can substitute any variety
- Garlic aromatic that enhances the sauce
- All-purpose flour thickens the sauce
- Red Wine use a dry red wine to add rich flavor. Use any dry red wine such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, or Sauvignon
- Beef Broth you can use Chicken broth if that is what you have on hand.
- Tomato paste rounds out the flavor of the sauce
- Worcestershire sauce adds the umami
- Frozen vegetables we use a combination of carrots, peas and corn
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Is Shepherds Pie Healthy
Because Shepherds Pie uses lamb mince it can be quite high in fat.
If youd like to reduce this, when you brown the mince, you can drain off an fat in the pan at that point before you add any other ingredients, that will reduce the fat you are actually consuming.
You can try to buy lean lamb mince but its quite difficult to find.
To add some more nutrients, you could also replace the regular white potato mash with sweet potato mash if you fancied.
Shepherds Pie Including Directions For Freezing
Higher starch potatoes like Russets or Yukon golds make for the fluffiest mashed potatoes. Start potatoes in cold water or theyll cook unevenly with the outside starting to fall apartwhile the inside remains uncooked. Drain well after cooking you might even heat the potatoes gently on low heat on the stove top for about a minute. Avoid mashing potatoes in a food processor as it can turn them into glue. By the way, did you know one medium-size potato has only 110 calories?
- 4 oz. Neufchatel or cream cheese, cubed and softened at room temperature.
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables , thawed
- 1 cup savory beef gravy, purchased or homemade
TO BAKE NOW:
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Key Steps For Easy Shepherds Pie
- Buy some shortcuts. I actually find chopping to be quite therapeutic, but when it comes to shepherds pie, peeling and chopping carrots is the last thing I want to spend my time on. Instead, opt for a bag of mixed vegetables from the freezer.
- Focus your efforts on the potatoes. You can totally make shepherds pie with store-bought mashed potatoes and you should if youre in an especially big hurry. But in the time it takes to make the beef filling, you can chop four large russets and cook them until tender. The resulting mashed potatoes will have more flavor and a better texture than store-bought.
- Add a yolk to the potatoes for texture and structure. Another benefit to making the mashed potatoes from scratch: you can stir in an egg yolk. Just one yolk makes the mash ultra-creamy, and also helps the potatoes form a crispy crust in the oven.
- Brown the beef in the same skillet youll serve from. This is key to the ease of this recipe. Use a large oven-safe skillet to brown the beef for the pie cast iron is best, if youve got it. Once the beef is brown, youll add your frozen vegetables and a few other ingredients to make a quick gravy, which is the base of the pie.
How To Make Shepherd’s Pie
Find out how to make this classic comfort food casserole, and learn the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie. #goodtoknow
Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, shows you how to make her recipe for hearty shepherd’s pie, with loads of how-to tips along the way. But first, a few words about shepherd’s pie, because that’s how we roll.
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Shepherds Pie Or Cottage Pie
The dish is called shepherds pie when it is made with lamb or mutton, and cottage pie when made with beef. Both pies include vegetables and are topped with mashed potatoes.
Traditionally, cooks minced the meat left over from the an evenings meal to make the pies. With the advent of commercial food processing, making the dish starting with raw, ground meat became popular.
To Make Beef Filling :
- Saute veggies: Melt remaining 1 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Add onion, carrots, celery and saute until nearly soft, about6 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
- Cook beef: Add ground beef in chunks and cook and break up beef until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. If you find theres lots of excess fat then dab some up using balled up paper towels held by tongs .
- Add thickeners: Add flour and tomato paste and saute 1 minute.
- Pour in liquids, let reduce: Pour in red wine, beef broth, Worcestershire, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a simmer stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until reduced by about 2/3 , about 8 10 minutes.
- Add remaining greens: Stir in peas and parsley and heat through, about 1 minute. Season filling with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble shepherds pie: Spread beef filling into an even layer. Dollop spoonfuls of mashed potatoes evenly over top then spread into an even layer .
- Run a fork along top in rows to create a wavy pattern.
- Bake: Move oven rack about 5-inches below broiler and preheat broiler to high. Transfer to oven and let broil until golden brown on top about 4 6 minutes .
- Rest: Let rest a few minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired.
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Tips For Making Shepherds Pie Ahead:
- You can make the entire casserole in advance, and simply cover and refrigerate before baking. Store in the fridge up to 3-4 days before baking and serving.
- You can prep your ground beef, and keep 1 pound portions in the freezer for quick dinners down the road.
- You can prep your beef and vegetable filling, then refrigerate for easy prep later in the week, or even freeze individual portions to top with potatoes later on.
- Shepherds Pie can be frozen, but you need to keep in mind that potatoes are never quite the same in texture after being frozen.
What Is A Shepherds Pie
Ok, so before you head to the comments section to really give me a history lesson, we know this isnt a true Shepherds Pie. It is more of a Cottage Pie, which is an English dish and traditionally made with ground beef. A traditional classic Shepherds Pie recipe hails from Ireland and is made with ground lamb . But, like many cultural and traditional cuisines over the years, the lines have been blurred here in America. So you will often see the dish we are making here referred to as a Shepherds Pie.
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Shepherds Pie: A Dish Born Out Of Necessity
Now isnt that something I thought to myself. Here we have a famous dish that came about from necessity. Then a train of thought hit me relating to Shepherds Pie that I never thought of
Shepherds pie is of English origin.. The English brought this pie recipe to Trinidad and Tobago during the colonial times . The house slaves may have probably seen how to make it or made it because Im sure some of them may have been cooks or kitchen assistants. The recipe, handed down in this manner, could have been a possible influence to our local pies like fig pie, dasheen pie, yam pie and eddoes pie for example. Hmmm!
Coming to think of it, these pies may have been made out of necessity too, because potatoes may not have been available to slaves. They would have used whatever was available to them, like ground provision. Even though its a thought, that is some real Trinidad and Tobago pie history to ponder on dont you think?
Anyhow, however the history goes we have been making shepherds pie in Trinidad and Tobago for ages. The variations like the fig pie tastes just as well and have become a regular on the menu, especially the Sunday menu, in most homes. Personally, I like the fig pie but then man does not live on fig pie alone so Shepherds pie is welcomed from time to time. Of course, the extra cheese on top is also a plus
A Quick Word On The Mashed Potatoes
I decided to put Greek yogurt in my potatoes to lean towards healthy while still being creamy-tangy .
That being said, if you want this to be a completely vegan shepherds pie, just use olive oil instead of butter and maybe a splash of non-dairy milk in your potatoes and you will be golden. And if youre gluten-free? I have a hack for you involving mashed potatoes check the FAQs.
Can you smell it though? That red wine, garlic, olive oil, rosemary aromatherapy?
If youre really looking ahead, Ill also say that Shepherds Pie is a perfect after-Thanksgiving recipe, because guess what you have a lot of in your fridge after Thanksgiving? Leftover mashed potatoes. This is an amazing way to use up some of those holiday potato leftovers.
Important to note that this vegetarian shepherds pie is a total comfort food meets real food situation, so its going to require pajamas or sweats. A big fluffy sweater would be okay, too. Blanket, slippers, and candle are all optional. But a big appetite will be necessary. I know you can deliver.
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Tips From The Pillsbury Kitchens
- tip 1 Part of what makes this Shepherd’s Pie recipe easy is the fact that the ingredients are fully cooked before your layer them together in the baking dish, so youre just heating them up until hot and aromatic.
- tip 2 Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese onto mashed potatoes before baking for a cheesy topped Shepherd’s Pie.
- tip 3 A main-dish pie is a great way to use that extra pound of ground beef. Try a few varieties of frozen vegetables you have stashed in the freezer for a different twist on this Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
- tip 4 If you arent sure about the volume of your casserole dish, pour in measured amounts of water to be sure you wont overflow it with the pie filling.
- tip 5 Ground beef is the usual, budget-friendly go-to for weeknight meals, but stock up on other ground meats when theyre on sale. Ground turkey, chicken, or pork would be great in this easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Cook the ground meat with the onion until thoroughly cooked continue with recipe.
- tip 6 Refrigerated mashed potatoes are easy and nice to have on hand. Try any flavored refrigerated mashed potatoes to top this main-dish pie.
Can You Freeze Shepherds Pie
A Shepherds Pie is the perfect make ahead food.
Once your pie is assembled you can chill and then freeze for up to one month. It can also be cooked from frozen. To bake from frozen, cook at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins until piping hot in the centre. Flash under the grill to brown, if needed.)
If not freezing, you could also keep in the fridge 2 days before cooking.
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Putting The Shepherds Pie Together
Place the meat and its seasonings from the fry pan into the baking dish.
Add the whole kernel corn and spread it around.
Add the creamed corn, and spread it around, too.
Top with the mashed potatoes.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, uncovered.
Individual servings to eat on the spot or to freeze for later.
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Meat Pie As One Of Easy Dinner Ideas
What I love about Shepherds pie, it was a lot much easier to prepare, comparing with other comfort dishes like lasagna or moussaka. Mainly because it is tasty even without Bechamel sauce, and you will need to make only two layers! And believe me, it has nothing complicated during the cooking process, if you follow my step-by-step instructions.
So this Shepherds pie will turn amazing every time you make it! Oh, and cheese is the must, dont miss this step!
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Tips For Homemade Shepherds Pie:
- Use a potato rice or food mill versus just mashing the potatoes if youd like silky smooth, lump-free potatoes.
- If possible use red wine for a robust finish.
- Use lean beef and dab up excess fat so dish isnt overly greasy.
- Avoid cooking in a glass dish as it may shatter under the heat of the broiler. If you dont own a cast iron pan use another deep oven safe pan or a metal or ceramic baking dish.
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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