To me, shepherd’s pie is the definition of comfort food. A savory layer of ground meat cooked with peas covered with a soft layer of mashed potatoes. I remember coming home from school and having my mom make this for dinner. This is one of my favorite ways to use leftover vegetables or ground meat as well.
What type of meat to use?
Traditionally, shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb, however, ground beef works just as good. The ground beef version is actually called a cottage pie and it is basically the exact same thing.
Vegetables in shepherd’s pie
As always, I would recommend preparing the vegetables for your ground beef mixture. You just want to dice up an onion, carrot, garlic, and frozen peas. Once the ground beef has pretty much beef cooked through, add in the onions, carrots, and garlic. We only add the frozen peas at the very end to prevent them from becoming too soft.
How to make the perfect mashed potatoes
Boil your potatoes
Begin by peeling and cutting your potatoes into smaller portions. I will typically heavily salt the water I use to boil my potatoes, this way I don’t need to season them afterwards. Cook them until completely fork tender, feel free to overcook them so that they mash easier. If you have a ricer, this will create the smoothest mashed potatoes, but even if you don’t it will be fine.
Add butter and cream
The reason I always add butter first is because the residual heat from the potatoes will melt the butter. If you add the cream first, you will lower the temperature and the butter wont melt as well.
Once the mashed potatoes are to your desired texture, add seasoning such as garlic, parmesan, and salt to taste. I also fold in chives at the very end for added color.
- 900 g ground lamb or beef
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 large carrot
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2.5 tbsp flour
- 1½ cups beef broth
- 1.5 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp parmesan
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Prepare your vegetables ahead of time.1 yellow onion, 1 large carrot, 8 cloves garlic
- In a hot pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and cook the ground meat until fully cooked through.900 g ground lamb or beef
- Add diced onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes.1 yellow onion, 1 large carrot, 8 cloves garlic
- Add tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes.2 tbsp tomato paste
- Add flour and stir until you can no longer see any more dry flour spots.2.5 tbsp flour
- Add beef broth, worcestershire sauce and rosemary.1½ cups beef broth, 1 sprig rosemary, 1.5 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and coats the ground beef well. It should look like this:
- Stir in the frozen peas and season to taste with soy sauce. I added about 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce.1 cup frozen peas, 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Boil a large pot of water and season with a large pinch of salt.
- Peel and cut your potatoes.4 large russet potatoes
- Add your potatoes into the water and boil until fork tender. (10-15 minutes)
- Strain the potatoes and mash them.
- Add butter and heavy cream. continue mixing until combined.4 tbsp unsalted butter, ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Grate in parmesan, garlic and fold in chopped chives.2 tbsp parmesan, 2 cloves garlic, chives
- Layer the bottom of a 10×6 inch pan with the ground meat mixture.
- Layer the mashed potatoes on top and smooth it out.
- Add a layer of cheese and bake at 400 until the cheese has melted. (about 20 minutes)1 cup shredded mozzarella
If you enjoyed this recipe, check out some more from the holiday series: