Food

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe (Cottage Pie)

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This easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is made with a saucy ground beef base, vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes. It’s a hearty make-ahead meal for busy weeknights or Sunday dinner!

For more hearty, home-cooked goodness, try this slow cooker chicken pot pie, Crockpot chicken and dumplings, or beef pot pie!

Homemade Cottage Pie

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite comfort food dinners! Shepherd’s Pie (also known as cottage pie) is one of those recipes that has taken on a lot of forms over the past several decades, and what you put in it probably depends on where you live.

Sometimes casseroles like Shepherd’s Pie get a bad rep, but this recipe is loaded with flavor (I like my beef nice and saucy!), and topped with the creamiest mashed potatoes. You’ll forget about every other lackluster casserole you’ve had!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Originally, Shepherd’s Pie was made with ground lamb, but the Americanized version usually swaps the lamb for ground beef (although if you really want, can use lamb instead!). This here is the way we like it: a nice, rich-tasting sauce with ground beef and plenty of vegetables, topped with creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. I know you’ll love it, too!

  • Carrots, Celery, and Onion: These chopped veggies add flavor, texture, and nutrients to the meat filling.
  • Ground Beef: This is the main protein source in the pie. I used lean ground beef! You can also use ground lamb for a more traditional version.
  • Garlic: For a savory punch of flavor.
  • Tomato Paste: Adds richness and flavor to the meat filling.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: So your Shepherd’s Pie has an extra boost of flavor.
  • Beef Broth: This forms the base of the gravy, adding moisture and flavor.
  • Cornstarch: This helps create a slightly thickened gravy for the filling.
  • Dried Herbs: I used thyme, oregano, and parsley.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add to taste!
  • Frozen Peas: These add pops of sweetness, color, and texture to the Shepherd’s pie filling.

Mashed Potatoes:

  • Potatoes: Russet or golden potatoes are perfect for mashing due to their high starch content. This creates a creamy texture.
  • Butter: Adds richness and creaminess to the mashed potatoes.
  • Half and Half: For extra creaminess!
  • Boursin Cheese (Garlic and Fine Herbs Flavor): This soft cheese infuses the mashed potatoes with delicious garlic and herb flavors.
  • Salt and Pepper: Adjust to taste.

How to Make the Best Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sauté Veggies: In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook the carrots, celery, and onion until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Brown Ground Beef: Add the beef and cook until thoroughly browned and no pink remains. Break it up into pieces as it cooks. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. 
  4. Sauce: Whisk together beef broth and cornstarch. Add it to the skillet, along with the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and salt and pepper. Stir in the frozen peas and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. 

Mashed Potatoes

  1. Add to Pot: Add the peeled and diced potatoes to a large pot and fill with cold water until the potatoes are covered. Add 2-3 large pinches of kosher salt. 
  2. Boil: Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes.
  3. Mash and Season: Drain the potatoes into a colander. Return the potatoes to the pot and either run them through a potato ricer or use a hand masher to mash them well. Add the butter, warm half and half, and Boursin cheese to the potatoes and mash until creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. 
  4. Layer: Spread the potatoes evenly over the top of the meat mixture.
  5. Bake: Bake the Shepherd’s pie uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the edges are bubbling. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Tips for Making Ahead

  • You can make the entire casserole in advance, and simply cover and refrigerate before baking. Store in the fridge up to 3-4 days before baking and serving.
  • You can prep your ground beef, and keep 1 pound portions in the freezer for quick dinners down the road.
  • You can prep your beef and vegetable filling, then refrigerate for easy prep later in the week, or even freeze individual portions to top with potatoes later on.

Can I Freeze Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s Pie can be frozen, but you need to keep in mind that potatoes are never quite the same in texture after being frozen.

More make ahead casseroles you’ll love:

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  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook the carrots, celery, and onion until softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Add the beef and cook until thoroughly browned and no pink remains. Break it up into pieces as it cooks. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.

  • Whisk together beef broth and cornstarch. Add it to the skillet, along with the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and salt and pepper. Stir in the frozen peas and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.

Mashed Potatoes

  • Add the peeled and diced potatoes to a large pot and fill with cold water until the potatoes are covered. Add 2-3 large pinches of kosher salt.

  • Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes.

  • Drain the potatoes into a colander. Return the potatoes to the pot and either run them through a potato ricer or use a hand masher to mash them well. Add the butter, warm half and half, and Boursin cheese to the potatoes and mash until creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

  • Spread the potatoes evenly over the top of the meat mixture.

  • Bake the Shepherd’s pie uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the edges are bubbling. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Originally posted February 26, 2020
Updated on March 16, 2024

Calories: 560kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 28gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 1139mgPotassium: 1619mgFiber: 9gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 4501IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 215mgIron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.




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