Originating in England, Shepherd’s Pie is a ground meat casserole topped with a crusted layer of mashed potatoes that melts in your mouth.
Before the dish became what we know as shepherd’s pie, it went by the name cottage pie for over 50 years from 1791 to 1854.
Typically, the meat sauce is cooked with onions and gravy in a pan; to add more substance to the filling, peas, carrots, sweet corn or celery is used. Add that mixture to a baking dish, top it with some mashed potatoes, stick it in the oven and you’ve got the perfect meal.
Traditionally, the ground meat mixture used is lamb, but it can be replaced with beef. When the recipe was first introduced in early cookbooks, the tip was to use leftover roasted meat and the bottom of the pan included an extra layer of potatoes.
Since then, there have been many variations of the dish.
If you want to learn how to make this classic dish for yourself, follow the recipe below!
How to Make Meat Filling
- Add the oil to a large skillet and place it over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the onions. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ground beef (or ground lamb) to the skillet and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and and pepper. Stir well. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the flour and tomato paste. Stir until well incorporated and no clumps of tomato paste remain.
- Add the broth, frozen peas and carrots, and frozen corn. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Set the meat mixture aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
How to Make Potato Topping
- Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, 10-15 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander. Return the potatoes to the hot pot. Let the potatoes rest in the hot pot for 1 minute to evaporate any remaining liquid.
- Add butter, half & half, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mash the potatoes and stir until all the ingredients are mixed together.
- Add the parmesan cheese to the potatoes. Stir until well combined.
Assemble the Casserole
- Pour the meat mixture into a 9×9 (or 7×11) inch baking dish. Spread it out into an even layer. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat. Carefully spread into an even layer.
- If the baking dish looks very full, place it on a rimmed baking sheet so that the filling doesn’t bubble over into your oven. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. ** Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 lb. 90% lean ground beef -or ground lamb
2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves -minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 cup frozen mixed peas & carrots*
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 – 2 lb. russet potatoes -about 2 large potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter -1 stick
1/3 cup half & half
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese