What Do You Put In Shepherd’s Pie

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Traditional Shepherds Pie Recipe

How To Make Shepherds Pie Watch Me Eat!

You can do this recipe a few different ways. To make classic shepherds pie, use minced lamb. To make cottage pie, use beef. Instead of red meat, use ground turkey.


  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 lb 90% learn ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Meat filling

  • Add the oil to a large skillet. Place it over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the onions and cook for 5 minutes., stirring occasionally.
  • Add the ground beef to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break it up. Put in the rosemary, salt, thyme, parsley, and pepper. Stir well to combine everything. Cook the mixture for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and garlic until well blended. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the flour and tomato paste. Stir until there are no more tomato paste clumps and everything is thoroughly combined.
  • Add broth and frozen vegetables. After bringing the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Set the meat and veggie mixture aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Potato topping

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Let them remain there for 1 minute to evaporate any leftover water.
  • Expert Tips And Tricks For The Perfect Shepherds Pie Every Time

    • 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.

    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.

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    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

    Garlic Sauted Swiss Chard

    Gordon Ramsay Shepherd

    Were sorry, but since when did Swiss chard become the Gretchen Wieners of the vegetable world?

    Its just as cute as the other vegetables. Just as delicious, yet you so seldom see it suggested for side dishes.

    Well, were going to change all that.

    Do yourself a favor though and try to grab it fresh from the farmers market. Theres such a difference in that flavor. So much so that its bound to become your very own Regina George.

    Its a bit like spinach and cooking it is quick and easy. A little garlic is really all it needs to be an exemplary shepherds pie side dish.

    Just ask Lisa at Downshiftology who makes it even easier to put together

    Read Also: Campbells Mini Chicken Pot Pie

    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.

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    Hi, Im Amanda Finks

    Im a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. Im an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! Im trained in Food Science & recipe development. Its my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love! See More.

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    Classic Shepherds Pie Recipe

    This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy

    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!

    To Make The Mashed Potatoes:

    How To Make Shepherd’s Pie
    • Add potatoes to pot with water: Place potatoes in a medium pot or large saucepan. Cover with water by 1-inch and season water with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    • Cook potatoes until tender: Let gently boil until potatoes are fully tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under hot water for about 5 seconds to remove excess starches .
    • Rice Potatoes: Drain potatoes then pass through a food mill or potato ricer into same pot .
    • Stir with liquid ingredients: Melt 5 Tbsp butter and add to potatoes along with half and half and sour cream. Stir just to combine while seasoning with salt to taste. Cover and set aside if filling isnt yet complete.

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    What To Serve With Shepherds Pie:

    Youre welcome to serve this shepherds pie with extra gravy on the side, if you would like. Otherwise, we enjoyed ours with:

    • A simple side salad: Such as my Everyday Salad recipe.
    • A loaf of crusty bread: If youre interested in more carbs. )
    • Corn on the cob: A simple and colorful side dish.
    • A nice cold Guinness: Cheers!

    Happy early St. Patricks Day, everyone! Hope you enjoy!

    • 1/2 cup whole milk, or more as needed
    • 2 ounces cream cheese
    • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

    Adding The Mashed Potatoes On The Top Of Your Shepherds Pie

    A common issue that some people have when it comes to adding the mashed potatoes on the top is the potato sinking into the meat mixture.

    There are three things you can do to avoid this from happing

  • How hot the beef mixture is. It is better to let the filling of your shepherds pie cool before topping with your mashed potatoes. The meat mixture will then be able to thicken more and be able to hold the weight of the potatoes.
  • The constancy of the filling. If your beef mixture is too watery, it will not hold together, and it can also cause the potatoes to soak up the liquid. This problem can also cause the potato to combine with the filling slowly.
  • Sloppy mashed potatoes. It would be best if you had your mashed potatoes a firm, thick consistency when adding them to the top of your shepherds pie mixture, as this will help it to hold its shape.

    If your potatoes are too sloppy or watery, they may end up blending with the mixture below instead of staying on the top.

  • Simply spooning the mixture from the bowl and allowing it to just fall on top will not do. You need to carefully spoon the mashed potatoes on the top in small amounts, before smoothing it out.

    When it comes to adding your mashed potatoes, there are two ways you can do this.

    The first way I mentioned before, spooning it on in small amounts.

    Piping the potato on can be a little more time-consuming. Still, the outcome is fantastic, and it makes the dish appeal appetizing.

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    What Makes This The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

    • Texture: The cookies are soft in the middle and chewy around the edges.
    • Flavor: They have a sweet, buttery, toffy-like cookie flavor, loaded with chocolate chips.
    • Quick & Easy to make: No bringing the ingredients to room temperature. No chilling the dough. The recipe can easily be whisked together, instead of using a mixer. And, its a ONE BOWL recipe.

    Tips For Homemade Shepherds Pie:

    Leftover Roast 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.

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    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

    Beet & Goat Cheese Salad With White Wine Vinegar Dressing

    A great salad is one of the best things to go with your shepherds pie!

    The crisp textures and delightful tangy flavors are a marvelous contrast to the richness from your main dish.

    Beets are a rustic ingredient that are perfect for this time of year and they really pair beautifully with goat cheese.

    You could simply toss a bed of greens with beets and goat cheese and call it a day, but why stop there?

    Check out this recipe below: She uses roasted beets, granny smith apples, pecans, and goat cheese for an epic combination of texture and sweetness with a tangy white wine vinegar dressing.

    We are in love with this salad by Lacey at A Sweet Pea Chef.

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    Which Vegetables Are Allowed In Shepherds Pie

    When is a Shepherds Pie no longer a Shepherds Pie?

    Lets add in some mushrooms!

    How about some zucchini?


    Okay. When is a Shepherds Pie no longer a Shepherds Pie? When does it turn into a meat pie? Or a casserole?

    Im a purist foodie at heart. Dont make a cauliflower crust and call it pizza. Please refrain from stuffing a duck inside of a chicken inside of a turkey. You want to blend bananas and call that ice cream? No, no, please. Give me the classics and Ill be happy.

    My Shepherds Pie requires four things: meat, potatoes, gravy and vegetables. Anything more or less, call it what you wish, but it is not Shepherds Pie.

    Now, this is all my own opinion. And I would be glad to hear some rebuttals in the comments if you think that one of these vegetables doesnt belong. Lets get started.

    Vegetables Allowed

    When I think of Shepherds Pie I think of England. And when I think of England, these are the vegetables I think of:

    • Carrots

    Origin Of Shepherds Pie

    How To Make Shepherds Pie

    The mashed potato pie enjoyed all over the world originated in the United Kingdom in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Just like a lot of us today, home cooks back then were having a hard time getting their spouses and kids to eat leftovers.

    These home chefs got creative, and soon there were different recipes being made and shared widely. While theres no one way to make shepherds pie, some components are fairly consistent among recipe variations. The meal almost always consists of a mashed potato base and topping with a minced meat filling, usually beef. A tweaked version, called Cottage Pie, has mutton or lamb in the middle. The meat simmers in gravy and vegetables carrots, celery, and peas.

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    Read The Labels On Your Worcestershire Sauce

    Diving into the meat filling, youll see that Worcestershire is a key ingredient. This is a vinegar based sauce made from fermented onions and garlic, along with molasses, tamarind, anchovies, spices and more. Yep, you can say this sauce has an intense depth of flavor, making it perfect to add to meats.

    But if youre gluten-free, youll need to be mindful of the brands you buy. Worcestershire often includes a wheat-based soy sauce to get that deep dark brown color. So, I recommend purchasing one of the below brands that are gluten-free .

    The Best Mashed Potatoes For Cottage Pie

    You can easily use leftover Creamy Mashed Potatoes or even Garlic Mashed Potatoes if you have some on hand, but be sure to add parmesan and egg. Heres what youll need to cook mashed potatoes for Shephards Pie:

    • Russet Potatoes whip up super creamy and smooth
    • Heavy Whipping Cream makes potatoes luxuriously creamy
    • Salt add to taste after mashing
    • Parmesan cheese gives the potatoes the best taste
    • Egg creates that lovely golden hue in the oven
    • Butter helps with color and keeps the potatoes moist

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