Featuring a ground beef or lamb and vegetable filling topped with cheesy mashed potatoes, this Shepherd’s Pie is a classic comfort food meal!
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Growing up, we were definitely a meat, potatoes and a veggie side dish kinda family. I didn’t mind it too much…especially on nights when there was a good ribeye steak on the grill! However, as I’ve gotten older, I realize that meat + potatoes + veggie side dish just doesn’t do it for me. I like to mix things up a bit!
Enter Shepherd’s Pie. If you think about it, Shepherd’s Pie is really just meat, potatoes and vegetables…just served in a different format. The meat is minced or ground. The potatoes are mashed. The veggies are…well…veggies.
Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with minced or ground lamb. When using ground beef, the technical name is Cottage Pie. However, to be fair, the two terms are frequently used interchangeably. We usually go with ground beef as we always keep 1-pound packs of lean ground beef in the freezer, however we have made this recipe with ground lamb in the past. It’s delicious both ways!
This recipe is one of the most quintessential “stick-to-your-bones” comfort food. It tastes great year-round, but it tastes especially good on a cold winter day.
The term “Shepherd’s Pie” dates back to the mid-1800’s when Scottish families would make a mutton and potato filling inside of a pastry crust. In those days before refrigeration, recipes like this were a great way to use leftover meat that had been roasted earlier in the week. In this way, leftovers from a Sunday roast could be repurposed into another meal.
In modern times, Shepherd’s Pie typically starts with fresh meat, although you could absolutely use leftover beef or lamb from a roast if you happen to have leftovers. This recipe would also lend itself to ground turkey or even wild game, such as venison or moose. (If you’re curious about moose, Dawn at Girl Heart Food has shared several recipes for ground moose. I’ve never personally tried it, but then again moose aren’t too common in the North Carolina mountains.)
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Cheese truly does make everything better! For this Shepherd’s Pie recipe, I sprinkled some shredded cheese on top (I used Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar…yum!) of the layer of mashed potatoes. As it baked, the cheese turned golden brown, and I couldn’t wait to dig in as soon as this one came out of the oven.
Reheating Leftover Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s Pie typically makes six servings. If you live in a large household, leftovers probably aren’t an issue. But for those of us in small households? Reheating leftovers is a skill in and of itself!
To reheat leftover Shepherd’s Pie, wrap the casserole dish in foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through. In a pinch, you can reheat leftovers in a microwave, but the oven will produce far better flavor and texture.
Leftover Shepherd’s Pie can also be frozen. Just wrap the cooled leftovers in foil and then place in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
If you’re hunting for some serious comfort food, then give this classic recipe a shot. It’s a delicious combination of meat and veggies topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. Yum!
Did you make this Shepherd’s Pie at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) so I can see your version!
For the Filling
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions diced (can use Russet potatoes)
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 16 oz. lean ground beef or ground lamb
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1¼ cups low-sodium beef broth or chicken broth
For the Filling
- Using a large skillet, add olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Add carrots, stir and continue sauteing for 5 more minutes.
- Add ground beef, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until beef is fully cooked. (Tip: Use a wooden spoon to break up beef as it cooks.)
- Add flour and tomato paste; stir until well combined.
- Add frozen peas and corn; stir until well combined.
- Add broth; bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove filling from heat and set aside.
For the Topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Using a large pot, add potatoes and enough water to cover. Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 13-15 minutes, or until very tender.
- Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add butter, half-and-half, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper; mash and stir until well combined.
- Spread meat mixture evenly into a 9”x13” baking dish.
- Spread potato topping in an even layer on top. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of potatoes.
- Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
- Garnish top with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
Looking for more classic comfort food recipes? Check out these other favorites: