Shepherds Pie

Have you ever had this? Sometimes it goes by other names, like mashed potato pie. I have seen it in restaurants, usually Irish in nature. It is supposed to have ground lamb in it. We use ground beef because I have a hard time finding ground lamb. (Little lambies, sniff.)  It has mounds of fluffy mashed potatoes on top, with melted cheese. A rich sauce with meat, mushrooms, onions and vegetables is hiding underneath.

Shephers Pie, a la mom

Its one of our favorites and it is going on this site so that someday, when I am, um, unavailable, my grown kids can say, “Whatever happened to that shepherds pie mom used to make,? Boy, I sure loved that stuff. Wish she had written it down…oh yeah“. So here you go guys (and gals, although I dont remember if I made it when Jess was still home.)

Shepherds Pie


to feed 4 people you need a minimum of 4 cups of mashed potatoes. It seems like I never had enough to make the nice thick layer this really needs. (Especially if you want to take pictures for your blog site) So for me this meant about 8 medium sized potatoes, but for you it might mean a box of mashed potato mix. Add your milk, salt and butter or whatever you normally use for mashed potatoes. I also put in 2 beaten eggs after the potatoes are mashed. While this dish bakes, the eggs help give the potatoes some lift and extra fluffiness. Then I also like to add some grated cheddar cheese inside the potatoes. Or use whatever cheese floats your boat. Set these aside to put on top of your casserole.

Now get your oven heated to 400 degrees.

For the bottom meat layer:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground meat
  • 1 diced onion
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • frozen mixed veggies of your choice, usually peas, carrots, beans.
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • red wine, umm, say 1/3 cup
  • beef broth, about 1/2 a box.
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

Fry up the ground meat until browned. Remove from pan and drain any fat. Put a little olive oil in the pan and add your onions, sauteing until soft. Add the mushrooms and saute, then the veggies. Now put in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Put the meat back in.

Add the wine and watch it go “hissssss” with lots of steam. 30 seconds later add the beef broth. I never have measured the broth. It depends on how saucy you like it, how much it absorbs. You can certainly add more or less to your liking. But I believe a box is 4 cups. That means you are adding 2 cups of broth to start.

Once that is all brown and saucy, add salt and pepper, maybe some lawry’s. I like to add 1 Tbsp of soy sauce to extra richness. I have not tried Worcestershire. Maybe I will next time.

In a casserole dish, pour in the meat/veggie/gravy mixture. Now, scoop the mashed potatoes over it, carefully spreading to cover as much as possible the meat mixture. Then put grated cheddar or Parmesan or whatever cheese you choose. Put into a 400 oven for about 40 minutes, until hot and bubbly, with some browning on the spuds. 

You just gotta love those all purpose pasta bowls

If I might suggest, I needed a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, under the casserole dish to catch the drips from the bubbling sauce. Mind you, I said I needed it. Maybe a better way to say it would be “I should have”… We served ours with some burger buns turned into garlic toast and there you go!


I made it again, cool nights and all, and I made some changes. Like I made buttermilk mashed potatoes, just replacing the milk with buttermilk. I know it sounds fantastic and it took me almost a year to get the nerve to do it, but it turned out wonderful and not scary at all! What was I afraid of? What? Everyone already knows about this? oh, um, okay…never mind

For the meat sauce this time I added worcehestershire sauce instead of soy. Oops. So then I added soy too. It turned out fine! Te red wine gives it a hint of sweetness and an earthy flavor, as do the mushrooms and soy sauce.


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