This shepherd’s pie is a wonderfully hearty meal and the perfect comfort food. Made with ground lamb or beef and topped with mashed potatoes, this is a nice and filling meal for the whole family. The best part is that is a pretty easy to make dish that tastes great.
I have found that a great shepherd’s pie is a dish that you never go wrong with. It is rustic, hearty and comforting. You can fill it with some of your favorite vegetables and this will quickly become a staple in your household. This can be made in a large casserole dish for the whole family or small oven safe dishes for meal prep or individual servings. That makes this dish perfect for those that meal plan or need to feed a small army with ease.
In this recipe
The basic shepherd’s pie is ground lamb or beef with vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes. This makes for a very hearty and filling dish. Adding a few other ingredients makes this already tasty dish even more craveable.
Tomato paste: adds richness to the meat and vegetables and a deep umami flavor.
Red wine: adds some acid to the dish as well as complementing the protein well. Be sure to use a while you like to drink.
Beef stock: enhances the flavors of the protein in the dish.
Lamb vs Beef
Traditional shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. However, depending on your location beef might be a cheaper option for you when it comes to making this dish. I have found that either meat works very well in this dish so it is really up to you and which flavor your prefer. If you are using beef I would suggest the leanest possible as it will help keep the dish from feeling overly greasy/oily once it has beef cooked.
Making the shepherd’s pie
One of the things I like to do is cook the potatoes first. You will want to cook the potatoes until a fork or knife can pass through easily. Once that happens remove from the heat and drain them. This will help keep them from absorbing more water. I prefer using a cast iron casserole dish that way I can go straight from the stove top to the oven. You can however use a regular skillet and then transfer to an over safe ceramic/glass dish for the baking.
Can I customize it?
Of course you can and this is my favorite thing to do. It keeps making this dish something that never gets old. Here are some of my favorites but feel free to change it up even more:
- Add ½ cup of cheese to mashed potatoes.
- Add bacon to the filling.
- Swap out or reduce the peas for mushrooms, corn, or any other vegetable you like. Just keep it around a cup of vegetables in total.
Looking for other hearty meal recipes?
Easy Shepherd’s Pie
- Casserole dish
- Potato ricer
- Large pot
- Mixing Bowl
- 2 ½ pounds potatoes peeled, cubed
- ¼ cup butter unsalted, melted
- ½ cup cream
Shepherd's Pie Filling
- 1 pound ground lamb or beef
- 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
- ¾ cup red wine
- ¾ cup beef broth
- ½ cup celery chopped
- ¾ cup onion chopped
- ½ cup carrots chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon butter unsalted
- Salt and pepper to taste
Making the potatoes
- In a large pot add the potatoes and fill with cold water. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes or until a fork can pass easily through the potatoes.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander. In a mixing bowl using a potato ricer or masher mash the potatoes, stirring in the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and cream. Add salt to taste and set aside.
Cooking the filling
- Preheat the oven to 400F, 200C or gas mark 6.
- In a cast iron casserole dish or skillet on, medium-high heat, cook the ground beef or lamb until browned, remove from the heat and place into a bowl. Return the casserole pan or skillet back to the heat.
- Add the remaining butter and cook the onions, celery and carrots until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the red wine, beef broth and cooked lamb or beef. Cook until the liquid has reduced. Add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
Cooking Shepherd's Pie
- Remove from the heat and add the peas. Pour into an oven save casserole dish if desired.
- Using a spoon or spatula spread the mashed potatoes on top and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the potatoes have turned golden brown.