If you are looking for a warm, filling comforting meal, try making this Shepherds Pie. This is great for when hosting a get together with family and friends,or if you want to pamper yourself just because you deserve it. This is a small batch recipe for two, like most of the recipe in my website, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make it for a bigger group. Scaling up this recipe is not as risky as you can easily adjust the taste and consistency. Use the instructions as a guide and make it as big or small portion as you like.
What is Shepherds Pie?
I never knew what shepherds pie was the first time I heard it. I literally had to google it to see how it looks like and what it is. Shepherds Pie or Cottage Pie is basically a meat pie consisting or minced meat and topped with mashed potato. If you are wondering where did the pie crust go, I also do not know. I am still wondering why it was called a ‘pie’ when clearly nothing on how it looks resembles as a pie. Oh well, it is what it is. Consider this a delicious crustless pie.
Shepherds Pie Variation
Shepherds pie can be made in different variations, you can add more veggie with the meat to make it more hearty and filling. The likes of green peas, celery, mushroom or corn are good options. Instead of using the traditional lamb, you can also use ham, chicken, turkey or fish.
The layers are basically meat and mashed potato, but you can also add a middle layer of vegetables like sweet corn. You can even make it vegetarian and replace the meat with sauteed mushrooms or lentils, probably tofu will work as well.
How to Make Shepherds Pie
Cook the Minced Meat: Let’s start your journey in making this unique Shepherds Pie by cooking the meat. We’re using minced beef, you can also use minced lamb which I believe is the traditional version, or a combination of pork and beef, or turkey for a lean option.We’re just sautéing the minced meat in a heated pan with oil until it is no longer raw. Start adding the grated onion, carrots, garlic and then mix. Followed by the spices, you can substitute the spices with what you like used basic salt, peppers, dried thyme and oregano. If you can get hold of fresh herbs, that would even be better as fresh herbs has stronger flavor. Add a little bit of sugar and tomato paste to help the caramelization. Add broth and simmer the meat until the sauce is reduced, but not dry. That’s about it! Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Make the Mashed Potato: Now for the mashed potato. Pretty simple. Remove the skin of the potato, then cut and dice into small pieces. The smaller the pieces the faster it will cook, and Easier to mash too. Have the pieces as close size as possible so that it cooks at the same time. Use cold water so that the potato cook the same time and add some salt as well in the water. Potatoes are quite bland as salting the water will add some taste to it. It took about 15 -20 minutes to soften it.
Don’t be scared of over cooking it, this is one of those time wherein over cook potato is ok because it will be softer and easy to mash especially using potato ricer. Drain the potatoes and return it to the pan just to dry it out. This will remove the excess water, but do not wait for it to totally cool down before mashing it. Warm potato mash easily than cooled potato. I always prefer to use potato ricer because it gave a smoother texture plus it gets the job easily. Add grated cheese or powdered parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder, butter and cream and lightly mix. You can adjust the consistency of the mashed potato by adding more or less cream.
Bake: Once you’re done with the minced meat mixture and the mashed potato, the only thing left is to transfer it in a baking dish and bake. I used 2 4-inch ramekins but this can be divided into 3 portions especially if you are serving this with another dish. You can also bake this in a single baking, something deeper so that you get a nice thick serving. Grate some cheese on top for additional texture, and besides who doesn’t love cheese anyway. But you can totally skip it, it is totally up to you.
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil.
- 200g minced lean Lamb or Beef
- 1/2 teaspoon table Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 small yellow Onion, finely grated
- 1 small Carrot, finely grated
- 2 cloves Garlic, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried Rosemary
- 1/2 cup Broth
- 1 Large Yellow Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- Parmesan or Asiago Cheese, grated.
- 1 piece large size Yukon Potatoes or Russet Potatoes
- 3 cups Water (for boiling potato)
- 2 tablespoon table Salt
- 1 tablespoon Full Fat Milk or Cream – room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt (Can also be reduced or increased to suit your preference)
- 1/8 teaspoon Pepper (Can also be reduced or increased to suit your preference)
- 1/3 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tablespoon salted butter – room temperature and cut into cubes (You can also use unsalted butter and increase the salt as needed)
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350F or180°C.
- Cook the Meat: Heat the oil in a large pan until hot. Season the mince meat and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir the grated onion, carrot and garlic. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the broth, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Make the Mashed Potato: Peel the potato and dice into even sizes as possible. Add COLD tap water (but not HOT water) in a large pan and add the diced potatoes. Use enough water to fully cover the potatoes, then add 2 tbsp of salt. Boil for 20 – 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. I used a fork and pressed the potatoes in the side of the pan to check if it is done. If it gets mashed easily, its done. Drain the potatoes, then return it to the pan and cover for 5 minutes. This will steam the potato and remove the excess water. While still hot, run the potatoes through the ricer and transfer them back to the pan over a low heat, just enough to keep the mashed potato warm while you are mixing the butter and cream. Alternatively you can skip the “ricing”step and simply mash the potatoes with a potato masher, although the texture will be more chunky than smooth. Gradually stir in the cream and butter (1 tbsp at a time) and continue mixing until smooth and you reach the consistency that you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until just fully combined and smooth. Do NOT over-mix.
- Spoon the mince into the bottom of a large oven proof dish. Using a large spoon, layer the mashed potato generously on top of the minced meat. Grate some extra Parmesan over and season. Bake in the oven for approximately 18-20 minutes, until bubbling and mashed potato is golden brown.
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