Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

Every few months I make a point to dive into my freezer to see what items may have been overlooked for too long.  Sometimes I go overboard when I stock up on meats and vegetables and as a result, I may not use them as quickly as I thought I would in my menu planning.  If that is true for you as well, you may want to take a look into the black hole of your freezer and plan some meals to use up those overlooked ingredients.

I found a couple of pounds of ground beef and an opened, one pound bag of corn kernels in my freezer.  Those two ingredients called out to me loudly and clearly.  Yes, they told me it was time to make shepherd's pie.  This was going to be a surprise for my family because shepherd's pie has not shown up on our dinner table for many years.  I used to make it fairly often, but it fell out of favor quite some time ago.  Since it had always been a favorite meal with Hubby and sons, I knew they would be happy to see it reappear.

My Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd's pie is a meal that I have always prepared without a recipe.  My version is a simple dish, consisting of a layer of flavored browned ground beef, topped with a layer of corn kernels and
crowned with a layer of tasty mashed potatoes. Since I wanted to share my version with all of you, I decided to check out other shepherd's pie recipes online.  What I found out is that the dish I have called shepherd's pie all my life is actually referred to as cottage pie because it is made with beef.  Shepherd's pie is traditionally made with lamb.  That may be true, but I don't plan to change the name of my dish at this point in my life!

I also found that there are nearly as many versions of shepherd's pie as there are home cooks. So, I hope if you decide to make shepherd's (or cottage) pie for your family you will adapt this recipe to your family's tastes.  If you do, it is sure to become a family favorite.

Donna's Shepherd's Pie
Print Recipe
Serves 4-6
Shepherd's Pie Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 pound bag frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a medium pot, covered with water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until a fork is easily inserted into the potatoes, about 10-15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, cooking until they start to take on a little color.  Add the minced garlic to the onions, cooking for about one minute. Add the ground beef to the pan, breaking up the clumps of beef.  Season the beef with salt and pepper, starting with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.   Continue to cook until the beef is nicely browned.

Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over the beef, stirring to distribute the flour.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the water, stirring to make a sauce.  Cook the mixture until you see the sauce begin to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.  Taste the mixture again and add the rest of the salt and pepper as needed.  Cover the pan and turn off the heat.
Thicken with Flour and Make A Sauce
Drain the potatoes.  Add the butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.  Mash the potatoes and additional ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.  Taste the potatoes and add salt and pepper as needed.
Mash the Potatoes
Spoon the beef mixture into a casserole dish, spreading to cover the bottom of the pan evenly.
The Seasoned Beef Layer
Pour the corn over the beef layer, spreading to distribute evenly.  Top the corn layer with the mashed potatoes, being sure to spread the potatoes to the edges of the pan.  This will seal the moisture from the beef and corn layers under the potatoes.  At this point, you may cover and refrigerate or freeze the shepherd's pie.

The Sweet Corn Layer
About an hour before serving, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and remove the shepherd's pie from the refrigerator.  Place the casserole dish on the center rack of the preheated oven.
Oven Ready
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and the center of the casserole is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Serve with a crisp salad or your favorite green vegetable.
My Shepherd's Pie

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  1. Great idea! Might try it with mixed veggies. Also thank you for the Lasagna recipe!Kathy

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kathy. Mixed vegetables would be good in this recipe, too. Enjoy the lasagna recipe.


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