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Shepherd’s Pie

This is a classic dish that I simply could not live without.  It’s flavorful, easy, and comforting.  And once you get the basic method down, you can mix it up and experiment with different combinations.  Here’s my interpretation of an American favorite.

The Stuff You Need:

Makes 4 to 6 portions

1 pound ground Beef*

1 small to medium Onion, diced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 or 2 cups Corn**

4 large Potatoes – or – 6 to 8 smaller ones***

3 or 4 Tablespoons Butter

Milk or cream, to thin potatoes if too thick

Optional flavor boost: Sprinkle a teaspoon of Rosemary on your drained potatoes, right before you mash them.  Fresh or dried is fine.

Here's How It's Done:

  1. Start by washing and peeling your potatoes.  Cut them into 1″ chunks and place them in a pot of salted water.  Put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil.  Once the potatoes have started to boil, turn down the heat and set a timer for 10 minutes.****
  2. While your potatoes are boiling, brown your ground beef in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. You can add your onions when the meat is still a little pink.  When the onions have softened, add the Worcestershire sauce and stir well to combine.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Check your potatoes to see if they are done.  I fish one chunk out with a slotted spoon and pierce the potato with a fork.  If the fork goes in easy, it’s done.
  5. Drain your finished potatoes with a colander or pot lid.  Put the butter in the same pot you cooked the potatoes in, dump the hot potatoes on top of that, and sprinkle the Rosemary on top of the potatoes.
  6. Mash the potatoes until they are smooth.  Taste them and add more salt or butter if desired.  Thin them a little with milk or cream if they seem too stiff.*****
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Now, get out an ovenproof casserole dish and scrape the ground beef and onions into the bottom of that.
  9. Drain your corn and spread that out on top of the beef and onion mixture.
  10. Using a rubber spatula, plop the potatoes in dollops all over the corn, then gently spread the potato dollops together and toward the edges to cover the entire top.
  11. I like to put a few thin slices of butter on top of the potatoes right before I put it in the oven.  You can skip this if you like.******
  12. Bake your Shepherd’s pie for about a half hour, or until the potatoes start to brown and everything is nice and bubbly.
  13. Be careful!  It’s very hot.  like a thousand degrees Kelvin, or something like that.


*The original Shepherd’s Pie was made with lamb and sweetened with carrots.  It’s very delicious too, but today we are making it American style.  If anybody gives you any guff about your Shepherd’s  Pie not being “authentic” then you need to gain some distance from that person.  You don’t need that kind of negativity.

**I used to use frozen, but thaw it out first.  Now I’m lazy and just use a 15 ounce can of corn.  It tastes just as good.  Don’t judge me.  If you have fresh, then by all means, use that.

***See my Mashed Potato recipe in the “Potatoes” section for more detailed help with this, if you need extra hand holding.

****If the timer goes off on your potatoes before you are finished prepping the meat, simply turn the burner off and let them sit there in the hot water until you are ready.

*****At this point you want your potatoes to have the same consistency as frosting, because that’s pretty much what you are going to do with it.  You are going to “frost” your Shepherd’s Pie in savory, delicious mashed potatoes.

******Shepherd’s Pie will hold in the fridge for several days at this point.  Nice to prep ahead of time and keep for a busy night when you won’t have time to cook.  I did this before a weekend getaway so that when we got home Sunday, dinner was already taken care of.  Put your cold casserole in a cold oven, then set the oven for 350 degrees and allow to bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

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