June 5, 2019

The BEST Shepherd's Pie

A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.


One of my very good friends had major surgery last Tuesday – I’ll call her M in this story. She’s got some scary stuff going on right now and I’m so worried about her but if anyone can win a fight through sheer will and prayer, it’s her.

She is literally one of THE BEST people on this earth. Ask anyone who knows her and they will tell you the same. She and her husband are the most generous, humble, loving, gracious people I’ve ever known.

Husband and I have literally asked ourselves over the years why M and her husband love us so much and still remain such close friends with us because we’re so flawed and rowdy and generally messy in comparison. But they do! They love and like us anyway! God love ‘em!

The BEST Shepherd's Pie | A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.

Word got out that M was going to have this surgery so a few of us decided to throw some stuff together that might help her and her family while she recovers and battles this. Once folks figured out we were a way to get things to M, it was like a damn broke.

The outpouring of love and support was staggering to behold but it’s just a testament to what an amazing woman she is and how loved her family is.

I’m telling you all this to A) tell you how it is I came to make this Shepherd’s Pie and mostly because B) I’d like to ask to you pray for M. If you’re not the praying sort, just some good positive thoughts or healing juju sent her way would be appreciated too!

The BEST Shepherd's Pie | A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.

So, I wanted to make something for M and her family that they could just pop in the fridge then heat up sometime over the next few days to have for lunch (because that Meal Train is booked SOLID y’all) so I decided on a Shepherd’s Pie.

I got tickled when I dropped it off because their youngest is a total foodie and he was getting himself a taste before I even got out the kitchen good!

I can’t wait to find out if my recipe passed his taste test!

The BEST Shepherd's Pie | A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.

HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL SHEPHERD’S PIE

An authentic, traditional Shepherd’s Pie is a casserole made with ground lamb. A dish made like this with ground beef, is actually called Cottage Pie. I use a combination of the two and because I do include the customary lamb, I still call mine Shepherd’s Pie.

The filling is most often made with ground lamb (or a combo of lamb and beef), carrots, onions and peas. Some recipes add other vegetables like parsnips or celery. I add celery to mine because I don’t like peas – don’t hate me! – but still want a little something green in there.

The meat and veg are made into a brown gravy/sauce then spooned into the bottom of a baking dish. The dish is then covered with a layer of mashed potatoes then baked until bubbly. Some folks (including me) add a little cheddar cheese to the top though it may be argued that traditional Shepherd’s Pie has no cheese.

The BEST Shepherd's Pie | A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.
For an alternative, you can also serve this as the Scottish dish called Mince & Tatties (mince is the common word for ground meat in the UK and tatties refers to the potatoes).

You might want to try it because that’s just a FUN name but also because it cuts a step out of the process. To serve, spoon mashed potatoes on a plate then top with the meaty gravy (omitting the cheese and baking step).

I think Mince & Tatties doesn’t usually have peas and you can use whichever ground meat you prefer so my version of Shepherd’s Pie is perfect for it!

The BEST Shepherd's Pie | A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.

I don’t go into how to make mashed potatoes below because I think most of you have that down (or a quick recipe search will help you get there) but if you’re not sure how much to make for this recipe, I’d suggest using about 2 pounds of potatoes.

Don’t judge me, but… I most often use the prepared mashed potatoes in the refrigerated section of the grocery store! I know! I know! That sounds crazy, right? But they are cheap and they are good! And most importantly, I rarely cook potatoes so the unused potatoes always go bad before I can use them.

I don’t recommend using instant potatoes in this recipe. I’m no mashed potato expert but I can definitely tell the difference in mashed potatoes made from fresh potatoes and instant and I’m no fan of the instant mashed potatoes.

The BEST Shepherd's Pie | A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.

HOW TO FREEZE AND REHEAT SHEPHERD’S PIE

You can easily cut this recipe in half if you’d like to make a smaller portion or you could prepare two small dishes then freeze one.

To freeze/reheat Shepherd’s Pie, cook the dish per the recipe then cool to room temperature. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil then freeze for up to two months.

When you’re ready to prepare the frozen Shepherd’s Pie, leave the aluminum foil on the dish then heat at 350 degrees for one hour if frozen or 30 minutes if thawed (thaw in refrigerator).

The BEST Shepherd's Pie | A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.


The BEST Shepherd's Pie


Yield: 12 Servings
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 40 M
A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.

ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4-5 cups prepared mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

instructions:

How to cook The BEST Shepherd's Pie

  1. Cook and crumble ground meat over high heat in a large skillet until meat is cooked though, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste while cooking. Drain meat in a colander then set aside.
  2. To the now empty skillet, add butter carrots, celery and onion then sauté vegetables over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until carrots are tender, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste while cooking. Add flour, stir well, then continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium then add beef broth, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg then heat and stir until broth becomes thick and bubbly (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Pour mixture into a 3-quart 13x9 baking dish. Spoon mashed potatoes over meat gravy then spread smooth. Top with cheese then bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

NOTES:

Feel free to use all ground beef or all ground lamb in this recipe instead of a combination of the two if you prefer. Using all ground beef technically makes it a “Cottage Pie” but I think most folks still call it “Shepherd’s Pie” and nobody’s ever burst into flames for doing so.
I HATE English peas so I don’t put them in my Shepherd’s Pie (or anything else) but feel free to add a cup of fresh or frozen peas to the meat mixture after it has thickened. Shepherd’s Pie traditionally has peas and may not always have celery – I add the celery for a little something green and because it gives the dish a fresh taste.
I didn’t always cook the meat separate from the veg but I’ve started doing so since meat packagers are pumping so much water/brine into meat to add weight these days. The pan fills with water which makes the ingredients boil instead of sear and sauté, and the added liquid can really screw up a good gravy or sauce. If you have a great butcher or source for ground meat, and know your ground meat isn’t bogged down with added water, feel free to cook the meat and veg together and omit the draining step.
For an alternative, serve this as a Scottish dish called Mince & Tatties (because that’s just a FUN name and it cuts a step out of the process). To serve, spoon mashed potatoes on a plate then top with the meat gravy (omitting the cheese and baking step).
Shepherds pie, Shepherd’s Pie, shepards, cottage pie, mince, tatties, mince & tatties, English, Scottish, casserole, how to, how to make, freeze, reheat, easy, best, recipe, traditional, beef, lamb, gravy
Created using The Recipes Generator


This recipe was shared at the Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday!

Keep up with my latest shenanigans by following South Your Mouth!
A simple but perfect recipe for Shepherd's Pie with a layer of rich meaty gravy on the bottom topped with mashed potatoes and a little cheese.


12 comments:

  1. I'm with you on the peas (bleagh!), and Scottish, so have the mince & tatties down pat....a veritable staple of my diet since birth, and this is the way I make Shepherd's Pie as well. Can't always find lamb (in rural Kentucky!), which is almost a must for traditional Scotch Broth, so beef suffices. Have enjoyed your recipes for a few yrs. now, but a lurker, I generally am.

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    1. Welcome to the table!! I was actually going to do Mince & Tatties for this post but then changed my mind at the last minute because I wasn't sure if folks would take to it so it's good to hear from someone (a Scottish someone, at that!) who loves it too!

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    2. Will use either ground pork or sausage or Italian sausage in place of lamb. . I do not like lamb in any for.

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  2. Totally sending healing juju to your friend M from Franklin, TN

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  3. I too am a lurker but have tried several of your recipes. May I say pig pickin pie was quite the hit?! I mostly enjoy reading your posts and hope your friend M is healed. Terrible person that I am, I first read Mince and Tatties, as Mince and Titties, and couldn't quite believe my eyes. Yes, well, obvs my eyes were wrong. Hope your week goes well.

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  4. Prayers going out for M - she needs strong faith to fight the fight and it sounds like she has both that a bunch of wonderful friends. That's a powerful combination and she is just as blessed to have you as you are to have her!

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  5. I recognize this recipe but it was always different growing up my favorite was when Mom's Mom made it with sausage a can of mushroom gravy and a can of cream style corn with potatoes and cheese. Of course that way it was a 15 minute meal when Nanny was stuck with all of the grandkids

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  6. I look forward to trying this! It looks yummy!

    I'm praying for M and their family. I pray for strength, rest and respite in everything they are going through. May they keenly sense His presence and love.

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  7. I made this last night with two pounds of ground beef (I also added peas) and it was a huge hit! We all loved it, but my 13yo son ate almost half of it by himself. He just kept mumbling between shovelfuls, "Mom, this is so good. This is definitely a keeper!" In my opinion, the nutmeg made all the difference. I really couldn't taste it, but it brightened up and brought out all the other flavors beautifully. I've been eating Shepherd's Pie all my life (Appalachian family tree) and this is by far the best I've ever had.

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    1. You just made my WHOLE week! I am SO glad you liked it and I'm extra happy to hear your boy did too! I agree about the nutmeg! Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it!

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    2. He's already put in his request to have it again this week! We're going to try the Taco Rice & Queso for Taco Tuesday tonight. I'm sure it will be yummy since you've never let me down! :-)

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  8. Another great recipe.... Husband loved it and ate almost the whole thing! Very good flavor and easy to make. Was yummy!

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Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy