Shepherd’s Pie Recipe (VIDEO)
The first time I tried Shepherd’s Pie was in the Cheesecake Factory and I fell in love with the dish. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of gal and this is basically the best combination of saucy meat and creamy parmesan potatoes.
Shepherd’s Pie recipe is a savory pie like Chicken Pot Pie and it’s just as homey and comforting. It is a stunning and welcoming dish for the holiday table. Watch the video tutorial and learn how to make it.
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Shepherd’s Pie Video Tutorial
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What is a Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s Pie (also known as cottage pie) originated in England. It is a savory pie with ground red meat (usually either ground lamb or ground beef) in a vegetable gravy sauce, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes. The potatoes seal in the saucy gravy filling and develop a golden crust as the pie bakes in the oven.
Ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie
- Ground Beef – we used lean beef, or you can substitute with ground lamb.
- Salt and Pepper – after several tests, we found this simple seasoning is all that is needed. Thyme and rosemary are commonly added but we found it overpowering in any quantity.
- Onion – we used yellow onion, but you can substitute any variety
- Garlic – aromatic that enhances the sauce
- All-purpose flour – thickens the sauce
- Red Wine – use a dry red wine to add rich flavor. Use any dry red wine such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, or Sauvignon (avoid cooking wine)
- Beef Broth – you can use Chicken broth if that is what you have on hand.
- Tomato paste – rounds out the flavor of the sauce
- Worcestershire sauce – adds the umami (savory notes)
- Frozen vegetables – we use a combination of carrots, peas and corn
The Best Mashed Potatoes for Cottage Pie
You can easily use leftover Creamy Mashed Potatoes or even Garlic Mashed Potatoes if you have some on hand, but be sure to add parmesan and egg. Here’s what you’ll need to cook mashed potatoes for Shephards Pie:
- Russet Potatoes – whip up super creamy and smooth
- Heavy Whipping Cream – makes potatoes luxuriously creamy
- Salt – add to taste after mashing
- Parmesan cheese – gives the potatoes the best taste
- Egg – creates that lovely golden hue in the oven
- Butter – helps with color and keeps the potatoes moist
Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes
- Cut potatoes into even pieces – this ensures they cook at the same rate.
- Add salt after the potatoes are cooked and they are less likely to become waterlogged.
- Do not overcook potatoes or they will turn gummy.
- Mash right away with a potato masher while potatoes are hot.
How to Make the Filling
- Saute Beef – saute ground meat in oil, breaking it up with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper. Add onions and saute 3 minutes until softened then add garlic and stir another minute.
- Add flour and stir for a minute.
- Pour in red wine and scrape the bottom to deglaze the pan.
- Add broth, tomato paste and worcestershire sauce, stirring to combine.
- Add frozen vegetables, bring to a light boil and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer 10 minutes until sauce is. slightly thickened.
To Assemble a Shepherd’s Pie
- Transfer the Meat Sauce into a pie dish or casserole.
- Top with scoops of potatoes then spread potatoes evenly over the filling. An ice cream scoop makes this easy.
- Drizzle with melted butter and bake at 400˚F for about 30 minutes or until potatoes start to turn golden.
Pro Tip: Shepherd’s Pie can be made ahead which is perfect for the holidays or busy weeknights. See the Make-ahead section below for tips on refrigerating or freezing the pie.
A Shepherd’s Pie is typically made with ground lamb (hence the name Shepherd’s). When it is made with ground beef, it is referred to as a cottage pie or meat pie.
Yes, you can use leftover mashed potatoes and you’ll need about 4 cups of mashed potatoes. Warm them up so they are creamy and spreadable. Add some heavy cream if needed to soften them up then stir in parmesan and an egg per the recipe.
Yes, you can substitute with a variety of chopped veggies. Try chopped and sauteed zucchini, or even chop and sautee your own carrot. Sauteed mushrooms are also a tasty addition.
Most of the alcohol in the wine gets cooked out but it adds great flavor. If you wanted to substitute, you could deglaze the pan with beef broth instead.
Serve Shepherd’s Pie with
Shepherd’s Pie can be the main course for a weekend dinner or a side dish when serving during the holidays. We love to pair it with fresh veggies, salad, and bread to soak up the gravy.
- Soft Dinner Rolls
- Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls (family favorite!)
- Caesar Salad
- BLT Salad with the Best Dressing
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- To Refrigerate: Assemble the pie and cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Freezing: Once the assembled pie is cooled, cover with foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
- To Reheat: Bake a refrigerated or fully thawed pie at 400˚F for 30-35 minutes.
Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food. It looks so festive alongside a Prime Rib Roast or a Juicy Roast Turkey. If it graces your holiday table, I hope you snap a photo and tag me on social media @natashaskitchen so I can see it.
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
A homey and comforting Shepherd's Pie recipe with a meat and vegetable gravy sauce under a crown of creamy parmesan mashed potatoes.
For the Potato Topping:
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” thick pieces
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, warm
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted to brush the top
- 1 Tbsp parsley or chives, chopped, to garnish the top
For the Pie Filling:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef or ground lamb
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided, or added to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon
- 1 cup beef broth or chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables of choice, peas, carrots, and corn
How to Make Potatoes:
Place chopped potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are tender (12-15 minutes), don’t overcook potatoes. Drain and mash potatoes in the same pot.
Add warm cream and 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste) then mash until smooth. Lastly, mash in the parmesan cheese and beaten egg.
How to Make the Filling:
Preheat oven to 400˚F with a rack in the center. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and ground beef. Breaking up the beef with a spatula then season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and cook until meat is just cooked through and no longer pink (5 minutes).
Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes to soften then add minced garlic and stir another minute.
Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp flour and stir for 1 minute. You’ll see a film form on the bottom of your pan.
Stir in red wine, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan for a minute. Add beef broth, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire.
Add 1 1/2 cups of frozen veggies and bring to a light boil. Season with another 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper or add to taste. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 10 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.
How to Assemble Shepherd’s Pie:
Transfer meat and veggie mixture to a deep pie dish, or 11×7 or 9×9 casserole dish.
Scoop mashed potatoes over the top then spread evenly, making sure to seal the potatoes to the edge of the dish so the filling doesn’t bubble up.
Drizzle 2 Tbsp melted butter over the top. Place a sheet of foil under the casserole to catch any drips and bake at 400˚F on the center rack for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes start to turn golden. Cool 15 minutes before serving.