Shepherd’s Pie is easily one of my family’s favorite recipes. It’s one that my kids always asked for when they were all still living at home. This recipe for Shepherd’s Pie makes a perfect casserole meal for any night of the week. If you’re looking for a great ground beef recipe for dinner that’s filling and comforting, my Shepherd’s Pie will be a great addition to your recipe rotation!
I’ve been making this Shepherd’s Pie recipe for my family for many years. Some would argue that this can’t be called Shepherd’s Pie because it doesn’t contain lamb. Americans have adapted the original meaning of the recipe title to suit a beef eating culture. You can read more about the history of Shepherd’s Pie below.
When I was a young bride the only recipe I knew was actually called Hamburger Pie and was made with ground beef, tomato soup and a can of green beans topped with mashed potatoes. However, several years ago I came across a recipe on Homecooking in Montana. She had found and adapted a recipe from Gordon Ramsey, and I’ve adapted it even more.
My version of Shepherd’s Pie
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.
Years ago I used to remove the mushrooms as my kids wouldn’t eat them. These days I keep the mushrooms in! I also adjusted the red wine and chicken broth to my fresh beef broth. So as you can see this is a very versatile recipe. I’ve recently started adding peas and carrots as well, so I’ve updated the recipe to reflect that.
I didn’t have any carrot, so I substituted zucchini. I also removed the rosemary due to a food sensitivity.
Ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or lamb)
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/2 medium zucchini, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen carrots
- 3 cups mashed potatoes
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, finely grated
- couple shakes of Parmesan cheese
Helpful Kitchen Tools
YOU CAN PRINT THIS RECIPE AT THE END OF THE POST
In a large skillet, brown the beef until no longer pink. Drain off excess grease. Next, add onion, garlic, and zucchini and saute for 3-5 minutes.
After that add the frozen carrots and peas and stir everything together.
Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Season with thyme and cook for about 1 minute.
Add broth and simmer until 10-15 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Transfer beef mixture to a deep casserole 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. Garnish with chopped scallions.
History of Shepherd’s Pie
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.
I hope you enjoy this class Shepherd’s Pie recipe as much as my family and I do. Throw in any extra ingredients you enjoy to make this classic meal even more comforting!
More casserole recipes you’ll love:
- Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Peas Casserole
- Turkey or Chicken Pot Pie
- Spaghetti Pie
- Rotisserie Chicken Nachos
- Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
- Chili Mac
This recipe originally published on: Jul 24, 2009 with this old photo