Shepherd’s Pie or as some call a Cottage Pie is an Irish dish that is made with a hearty red sauce ground beef pie filling with a golden brown, buttery mashed potato crust. What traditionally constitutes as side dishes at supper turns into a meal with frozen vegetables and potatoes baked into this classic meat casserole.
Like most other dinner casseroles, Shepherd’s Pie combines a variety of fillings that are assembled and baked in one pot and served as a meal. The meat pie filling has an ample amount of beef with tender pieces of carrot, peas, green beans, and corn dressed in a rich beef sauce. Each bite includes a generous serving of mashed potatoes.
HOW TO MAKE SHEPHERD’S PIE
- Make mashed potatoes; set aside.
- Brown ground beef.
- Make a roux with flour and tomato paste in the pot.
- Stir in beef stock, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.
- Simmer for 30 minutes until thickened.
- Stir in frozen vegetables.
- Pour into a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Spread mashed potatoes on top. Rake a fork back and forth to create a rustic look.
- Top with melted butter, parmesan cheese, and parsley.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350°F.
MASHED POTATO TOPPING
- Peel and cube potatoes.
- Boil in water until soft then drain water.
- Mash potatoes with butter, milk, and seasonings.
SHEPHERD’S PIE INGREDIENTS
- GROUND BEEF: A hearty ground beef filling cooked in red gravy.
- TOMATO PASTE: Thick red gravy filling.
- FLOUR: Used in combination with tomato paste to make a thick sauce.
- BEEF STOCK: Builds the beef flavor and adds moisture to the roux by creating a thick beef sauce.
- SEASONINGS: Classic flavors with bay leaves, salt, pepper.
- VEGETABLES: Traditional vegetables that include carrots, green beans, peas, and corn. Use frozen vegetables or mince the carrots and add them to the pot at the start of browning the meat. Other vegetables can include onions and celery.
- MASHED POTATOES: Use potatoes like russet or Idaho yellow potatoes. Boil or pressure cook until soft then mash until creamy with milk, butter, and seasoning. Mashed potatoes serve as the topping to this saucy beef casserole.
- PARMESAN CHEESE: Rich, buttery, salty parmesan cheese topping crisps the mashed potato crust and turns it golden brown.
SHEPHERD’S PIE QUESTIONS & TIPS
How thick should the sauce be? Try to get the sauce nice and thick, not liquidy. If after simmering, it is still liquidy, stir in 1/2 tbsp additional flour at a time. NOTE: The sauce will not thicken once baked in the oven. However the sauce is before going into the casserole dish is how you’ll be eating it with mashed potatoes. Set the sauce up thick enough that the filling juices won’t run when served.
Can I make this the day before and bake later? Both the ground beef filling and mashed potato topping can be made in advance. Store them separately and assemble before baking.
Will fresh vegetables work in place of frozen? Yes. Mince carrots (and celery if using) and cook them with the ground beef. If using fresh green beans, cut off the tips and cook with the beef.
Can I freeze Shepherd’s Pie? Yes. Bake in a foil pan and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and store in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. To use, remove from freezer 24 hours before using and place in the refrigerator the thaw.
What kind of sides can I serve with this casserole? Try my Crack Brussels Sprouts or Crack Broccoli recipe. Both vegetables feature a signature seasoning for roasting vegetables with exceptional flavor. Cornbread is another favorite that we sometimes make with Shepherd’s Pie.
For more beef recipe ideas, try this one-pot Instant Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes. Use any leftover ground beef in these Ranch Beef Tacos. My one-pot Beef Spaghetti recipe is a huge hit among family and friends. For classic comfort food, try this Beef and Broccoli recipe.
Classic Shepherd’s Pie
- 1½ lb ground beef
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2¼ cup beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, minced or 2 tsp galic puree
- ½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 beef bouillon cube, crumbled
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables with peas, carrots, green beans, and corn
Mashed Potato Topping
- 3 lb potatoes I like Idaho yellow potatoes
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup milk or half and half or cream
- 2 tsp Lawry's seasoning
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
- Peel, and cube potatoes. Place in boiling water until soft or place in the Instant Pot using these directions.
- Drain potatoes. Mash with potato masher and mix with butter, lawry's seasoning, salt, pepper, and milk Cover with foil; set aside.
- Brown ground beef in stock pot over medium heat breaking it up as it cooks.
- Stir in flour, garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste.
- Stir in beef stock, bay leaves, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and crumble a beef bouillon cube.
- Simmer on stovetop for 30 minutes. TIP: The sauce won't condense down anymore once the potatoes are added on top so keep cooking until desired consistency. If it's really liquidy, simply stir in more flour.
- Stir in frozen vegetables. Mixture will thicken release once frozen vegetables thaw.
- Pour into a 9×13 casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes on top. Gently rake a fork over the potatoes to make the topping look rustic.
- Melt butter and stir in grated parmesan cheese, and parsley. Spread over mashed potatoes.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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