Shepherd’s Pie

We have eaten Shepherd’s Pie, or Hamburger Pie, for many years. We’ve always had the easy version, ground beef, tomato soup, a can of green beans and mashed potatoes. However, I recently came across a post from Ellie’s blog, Homecooking in Montana. She had found and adapted a recipe from Gordon Ramsey, and I’ve adapted it even more.

This is delicious. I’m very happy to have found a recipe that doesn’t include a condensed soup and does use fresh ingredients! I didn’t tell hubby or the kids that I was using a different recipe and everyone seemed to like it. My husband finished his helping and added more to his plate, always a good sign! So thank you for posting this recipe Ellie, we will be enjoying this again and again.
The recipe below is my adapted version. I had to change a few things from Ellie’s to suit our likes as well as adapt to what I had on hand. We buy our beef by the side, so my ground beef is probably 85% rather than very lean, therefore I eliminated the oil as it wasn’t needed. I also removed the mushrooms due to my mushroom hating family (sigh, I love them) and adjusted the red wine and chicken broth to my fresh beef broth. I didn’t have any carrot, so I substituted with zucchini. I also removed the rosemary and hubby doesn’t like it. To see the original recipe please visit Ellie.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  Braised Chicken Legs with Red Potatoes
Shepherd’s Pie
adapted from Homecooking in Montana

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or lamb)
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 medium zucchini, grated (EDITED! Sorry, put 1 lg by mistake)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp fresh thyme (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
2 cups beef broth (I made my own beef broth, so this is what I used)

2 tsp salt, or to taste
3 cups mashed potatoes
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, finely grated
couple shakes of Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, brown the beef until no longer pink. Drain off excess grease. Add onion, garlic, and zucchini and saute for 3-5 minutes.

Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Season with thyme and cook for about 1 minute. Add broth and simmer until 5-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Transfer beef to a deep dish. You can use an 8×8 square pan, a casserole or you can make individual servings.

Spoon mashed potato on top of beef. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese. Place the dish on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over while baking. Bake in a 375° F oven for 20 minutes or until top is brown and heated through. The sides may be bubbly.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  Pretzel Chicken with Honey Mustard Dressing

Oh and just a little food history for you. Shepherd’s Pie was originally called Cottage Pie. I’ll quote from Wikipedia:

Cottage pie, also known as shepherd’s pie, refers to an English meat pie with a crust made from mashed potato and beef.

The term cottage pie is known to have been in use in 1791, when potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor (cf. “cottage” meaning a modest dwelling for rural workers).

In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.

The term “shepherd’s pie” did not appear until the 1870s, and since then it has been used synonymously with “cottage pie”, regardless of whether the principal ingredient was beef or mutton. There is now a popular tendency for “shepherd’s pie” to be used when the meat is mutton or lamb, with the suggested origin being that shepherds are concerned with sheep and not cattle, however this may be an example of folk etymology.


  1. Alta says

    Our whole family loves shepherd's pie – and Gordon Ramsay's version is yummy. This sounds tasty too – and with the addition of zucchini, sounds healthy! You've reminded me of a dish I need to put back into rotation soon!

  2. Ellie says

    Hi Amanda!
    Thanks so much for your really nice comment:) I just love your additions…You gave me a great idea,zucchini. Now, next time I'll try using some zucchini. Your picture looks absolutely lovely! I am so glad you adapted the recipe to your family's liking:)You did a fabulous job!~Ellie

  3. Carrie says

    I really love shepherd's pie! I love the addition of zucchini and the cheese on top. That sounds wonderful.

  4. Jennifer says

    I love sheperds pie! I have always made from scratch, there is no going back, right?! :) love this version of it! great pic!!

  5. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says

    I bought some nice lean mince the other day and was contemplating doing a shepher'd pie! Thanks so much for the recipe, it looks wonderful :D

  6. Rachel says

    Shepherd's Pie is one of my absolute favorite "comfort foods"! I tried it for the first time a few years ago and LOVED it! I can't wait to try your version!

  7. Helene says

    Our Shepard pies in Québec are quite different. We have a layer of ground beef, a layer of corn and a layer of mashed potatoes. This one looks yummy.

  8. Rhonda says

    Hi Amanda I was looking at your blog and you said as a kid you ate the easy version that is how my mom made when she was alive is that recipe posted anywhere?

  9. Louise Shindler says

    I was so happy when I came across this recipe . I am 88 years old and and I still love it. It is so easy to make ,but oh so very good.My Mom used to make it and we all looked forwawrd to the night it was on the menu.Thank you for publishing it.

  10. SuAnn Bishop says

    I have been wanting to make shepherds pie for quite some time now. I finally made it last night. I love shepherds pie and have since I was a little girl, which, was many, many, many years ago. This is the first time I have made it since I left home when I was 18 yrs. old. It was even better than I remembered. I browned the ground beef with onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper, bacon bits, and worcestershire sauce. Drained the fat and used the same pan and fried up some peppers, onions, celery with a little bit of real butter, little bit of oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper only until starting to carmalize. Layered that over ground beef then put a layer of canned sliced mushrooms,another layer of canned mixed vegetables, a layer of 3 small cans of cream of mushroom soup(undiluted), then the mashed potatoes. when cooked add Rague cheddar cheese sauce on top of potatoes. OH SOOOO GOOOOD!!!!!!

  11. SuAnn Bishop says

    Your version sounds great also and I will be trying it real soon, only one question though, what spice would you use in place of the thyme? I don’t like thyme.(Sorry).

  12. Pam says

    This is almost like mine I just add peas and carrots diced. Have seen some recipes that do not sound anything like the shepherds pie I grew up with in England. I make it for my friends here in the states all the time and they love it. Thanks for sharing the real recipe.

    • says

      Hi Pam. Yes it’s one of those recipes that has been adapted by many. That’s actually the beauty of Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie is that everyone makes it their own.

  13. Linda Mantha says

    the shepard pie , is from Quebec , Canada
    the way you make it is wrong !
    ithas only 3 ingredients : ground beef. creme corn , and mash potato a bit of parsil and paprika on the mash potato before putting in the oven.
    it’s been past on are 5 generations in my family .

    • says

      Hi Linda. The way I make it is not wrong ;) Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie started out as a way to use up leftover meat topped with potatoes. There is no original recipe, other than that. What you are describing is a regional adaptation of the pie made many years ago, so is mine. Neither are wrong.

  14. Chris Thomas says

    As a ‘Shanty Irishman’ from New York City, I grew up eating and making Sheppard’s Pie. This is real peasant food and believe it or not, lamb was the cheapest meat you could buy. Olive oil, tomato paste and parmesan cheese came from the other side of 31st Ave.; the Italian neighborhood. Since lamb is very lean, we started off, as with almost everything else, with bacon fat. Then it was nothing more then carrots, peas, onions, potatoes, sharp white cheddar cheese, cream and butter, herbs and Worcestershire sauce; when we could afford it.
    One of my aunts used to make this with Murph’s (Murphy’s Irish Stout), if she didn’t drink it all. It’s the real stout of the ‘shanties.’
    God bless.

  15. Terry says

    My Mother used to make this dish, thank goodness it says beef (I don’t eat lamb) Sounds very good. Will have to try this since I haven’t made it for years


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