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Try Shepherd’s Pie For a Comfort Meal

shepherd's pie

By Susieclue (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I first had Shepherd’s Pie when I was a toddler in Africa. My father introduced me to the meal. I fell in love at first bite!

Also called a cottage pie, this dish was originally made popular in Europe, but has become a common comfort meal all around the world. It relies on beef, vegetables, and mashed potatoes all combined in one delicious meal.

It’s not your traditional pie … there is no pastry for a crust. In fact, the “crust” is made of meat! This can be made with beef, turkey or lamb.

The “filling” is made primarily of veggies. While there are some standards usually included in a classic shepherd’s pie, don’t be afraid to mix it up. However, some good ingredients to include are peas, carrots and corn. Frozen veggies work perfectly fine with a shepherd’s pie.

The top layer is made from mashed pototoes and cheese. It is a good idea to start prepping the potato layer first, since it takes longer than the other layers. Peel the potatoes, chop them, and then boil them.

Preheat your oven while you are doing this, and then begin chopping your veggies.

Once the potatoes are done, mash them and mix in your butter, milk, and seasonings.

Finally, heat up your ground meat in a skillet. Add in your veggies to the meat mixture with any of your seasonings. Add some flour to thicken it, followed by the remaining ingredients, including tomato paste, sauce and oregano. You can then place this meat mixture in a pan, followed by the potatoes. Let it bake for a few minutes until everything is nice and hot. And the cheese is all melty.

Here’s a more formal recipe for Shepherd’s Pie:


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 cups mixed vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, lamb)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese

Suggested seasonings: Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, Basil

Additional suggested veggies: Cauliflower, brocholi, zucchini, lima beans, mushrooms


Place the prepared potatoes in a medium pot. Cover with at least one inch of cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until tender. While they are cooking, start cooking the vegetables and meat.

Melt four tablespoons of butter or coconut oil i a large skillet. Cook chopped onions until tender. Add in garlic and sauté for about two more minutes. Add in the vegetables, one type at a type in oder of how long they take to cook. Carrots first, peas last. Sauté until cooked.

Add in ground meat and cook until no longer pink. Add in seasonings and mix. Add in Worcestershire sauce and broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth if necessary to keep the meat from drying out.

When the potatoes are done cooking (you’ll know because you can easily pierce them with a fork can), remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl with the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the beef, onions, and vegetables in an even layer in a large baking 8″x13″ casserole dish.

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the ground beef. Rough up the surface of the mashed potatoes with a fork so there are peaks that will get well browned. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake in oven until the bottom is browned and bubbling and the cheese on top is melted. This should take about 30 minutes. Broil for the last few minutes to help the top brown.


Create Your Own Unique Pie!

Your Perfect Pie by Carma SpenceDoes pie making daunt you? Are you wary of deviating from any pie-recipe you find, for fear that you’ll ruin the flavor of the resulting pie?

It doesn’t have to be that way!

Pie-Palooza 2017 is brought to you by Your Perfect Pie, a cookbook that breaks down pies into easily made component parts so you can unleash your pie-making creativity. Available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. Grab your copy today and start creating your perfect pie!


Welcome to Carma's Cookery's Pie-Palooza 2017 - A month of pie legend, lore and love

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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