Shepherds Pie

This is a dish I grew up on and loved it everytime my mom made it. It’s a British classic and all it is, is a ground meat and vegetable mix in a herb seasoned tomato based sauce and topped with creamy mashed potatoes. The best part of the dish is that it’s then baked till the mashed potatoes form a golden crust. Dig into that and you reach the creamy mash followed by the moist meat and veggies. It’s delicious!

Given that mashed potatoes are an American favorite, I’m surprised that shepherds pie isn’t commonly made here. Anyway, I intend on making it a family favorite in my home too, just as my mother did. And why not? it’s a one dish meal in itself, it’s simple, hearty, comforting  and near impossible to mess up. I’m sure your family would love it too.

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
3/4 cup of frozen peas
1 tsp dried herb Italian Seasoning
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Tomato sauce
A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
3-4 medium potatoes, skinned & boiled.
3 tbsp butter
2/3 cup of cream
Salt Pepper to taste.
1 egg (for egg wash)

– Heat some olive oil in a deep pan.
– Toss in the finely diced onion and sautee till it turns soft and translucent.
– Add the finely chopped garlic and sautee it with the onions for a couple minutes.
– Then add the diced carrots, celery and frozen green peas to the pan and mix together.
– Add the ground beef, spread it well and let it brown on medium-high heat along with all the veggies.
– Once the meat is browned season the meat well with salt, pepper, the italian seasoning herbs and worcestershire sauce. Stir well.
– Then pour in a cup of tomato sauce, mix well and bring to a boil. Then put a lid on, lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes or so while you prepare the mashed potatoes. Just before you turn off the heat, stir in some freshly chopped parsley.
– Peel, cut and boil the potatoes in well salted water. Then drain them and toss them in a mixing bowl.
– Add the butter,cream and garlic powder (optional) to them while still hot and mash them with a potato masher. Season it with salt and pepper according to your taste.
– To assemble the dish, spoon the ground beef mix in the bottom of a casserole dish, or small oven proof individual serving dishes.
– You can then spoon or pipe (to make it a little fancier) the mashed potatoes over the top. If you spoon it, flatten it a little over the top and with a fork make some lines on top. the ridges are what will brown and form a nice crust.
– Lightly brush a little egg wash (an egg beaten with a teaspoon of water) on the ridges of the mashed potatoes. Pop it into the oven at 400F for around 10-15 minutes. Then stick them under the broiler for another few minutes (4-5) until the mashed potato topping froms a nice golden brown crust.
– Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley.

Shepherd’s Pie



    • Pat Hendricks says

      Shepherd looks after sheep….lambs etc., therefore Shepherds Pie is made with ground lamb. However this recipe is virtually the same except it would be call Cottage Pie using ground beef! Whichever recipe you choose is cheap and tasty!

  1. maggie says

    I’m Scottish and this pie is actually a Cottage Pie not Shepherds pie. In Britain Shephards pie is made with lamb not ground beef

  2. MaryAnne says

    It’s a Cottage Pie here in Australia, too. We have this funny thing about shepherds herding sheep, not cows. I grew up on it, and must say that this version looks delicious.

  3. Anne says

    You’ll get a better result by cooking the meat mixture (should be lamb) in a very low oven, about 140 degrees C for an hour and a half before topping with the mash.

  4. Mary Meister says

    this is actually Cottage Pie – Shepherd’s Pie uses lamb and Cottage Pie uses beef – only difference

  5. Angelina says

    I’ve heard of Shepherds Pie, but I never had it. I too, thought it was made with lamb, but using lean beef is perfectly ok with me. Instead of making several individual pies, I’d like to make one large one….in a deep 9″ pie dish, so, how long should I bake it?


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