Shepherd's Pie

The mashed potatoes used for Shepherd's Pie should be a little on the stiff side. Potatoes that are too creamy make a flat topping.

INGREDIENTS | SERVES 4

1 pound ground lamb or beef

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup lamb or beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon Tabasco

Pinch thyme

1 cup frozen peas and carrots

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups mashed potatoes

⅓ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  • In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine beef or lamb with onion, garlic, and parsley; sauté until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove to a bowl. Discard fat.

  • Put 1 tablespoon of oil in saucepan; heat over medium-high heat. Add flour; stir until mixture is lightly browned. Add broth; stir until well blended. Stir in tomato paste, Tabasco, and thyme; bring mixture to a boil. Add peas and carrots. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until gravy is thick and veggies are hot.

  • Return meat mixture to saucepan; stir to blend. Add salt and pepper; pour into medium casserole dish. Spoon mashed potatoes over top; sprinkle shredded cheese over potatoes. Bake in 350°F oven for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are nicely browned. Let stand briefly before serving.

Cottage Versus Shepherd

In most of the world, a Shepherd's pie is any mixture of seasoned ground or chopped meat and gravy topped with a mashed potato crust. However, in England — where the dish originated — cooks usually distinguish shepherd's pie as a recipe that contains lamb. The beef version of it is called cottage pie. In either case, the dish is most often made from leftover roast and gravy, rather than just-cooked ground meat.

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