Shepherd’s pie

Category, , DifficultyBeginner

Shepherd’s pie is one of the favorite dishes in the UK. But the love for shepherd’s pie has passed the English and Irish borders a long time ago. And now, it is beloved all around the globe. Before we go through to the recipe, let's see a little bit about the history of this dish.

shepherd’s pie in the pan

Shepherd’s pie origin

In the 18th and early 19th century, English and Irish housewives struggled not to waste leftovers. Kids and the rest of their families were a bit picky and there were a lot of leftovers, especially from Sunday roast. Since wasting the food is never a good option, the housewives came up with a delicious recipe that incorporates those.

When it comes to the real place of origin, both English and Irish claim the origins of shepherd’s pie. And since these two nations have a rich and long history, it is hard to determine which is the exact place, so most people just think it is the UK.

Even though there are a lot of variations of the dish, the basic is always the same. The traditional shepherd’s pie consists of three layers - mashed potatoes at the bottom, minced meat in the middle, and mashed potatoes on the top. When it comes to meat, it is usually lamb or mutton which is made in a tasty gravy that contains onions and vegetables (carrots, peas, or celery).

The taste of shepherd’s pie can vary because of several reasons. You can play with a different combination of vegetables and seasonings. Also, the taste can depend on the way you make the mashed potatoes.

Many people confuse the shepherd’s pie with the cottage pie. The main distinction between the two is the type of meat that is used. Therefore, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb (if it is easier for you to remember, think of it as the sheep-shepherd). On the other hand, the cottage pie is made with beef.

Variations of shepherd’s pie

So, there are a lot of versions of shepherd’s pie. For example, the American shepherd’s pie is made with beef, but also contains mushrooms. On the other hand, the Chilean version contains black olives, boiled eggs, and raisins. Interestingly, there is a vegetarian and vegan version which is called "shepherdless” pie, meaning there is no lamb or any other meat in it. 

Replace the meat in the shepherd’s pie

If you are looking for the healthier versions of the dish, you can always replace some ingredients with the healthier ones. Lamb or mutton could be difficult to digest for some people. Therefore, you can make a healthier version of the dish if you replace mutton or lamb meat with chicken or turkey meat. Or you can leave out the meat in general. There are recipes for meatless versions of shepherd's pie that include all sorts of ingredients. For example, there are meatless veggie grounds, vegan cheese, you can put mushrooms, leeks, broccoli, etc. Are you a fan of meatless meals? Check out this recipe for awesome Broccoli spinach lasagna.

Replace the milk or potatoes in the shepherd’s pie

If you don't want to use regular milk or heavy cream for the mashed potatoes, you can replace it with almond, soy, or coconut milk. The potatoes are of course delicious, but they bring a lot of calories to the dish. If you are looking for something to replace them, the perfect choice is mashed cauliflower. Cauliflower can be mashed in the same way the potatoes do. It has almost the same color, and it is delicious. 

Nutrition facts

100g of shepherd's pie with lamb contains 122 kcal, 6.98g of proteins, 12.47g of carbs, 1.42g of sugars, and 5.04g of fat. So, keep in mind that this dish is high in calories, and if you want to lose weight, you might want to consider the smaller portions. It also has 18mg of magnesium, 297mg of potassium, 7mg of vitamin C, 37 µg of vitamin A, 17mg of calcium, and 0.79mg of iron.

Great side dishes to serve with shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie is a very delicious meal on its own. It can easily satisfy appetite because it contains meat and potatoes. Especially, when it contains other vegetables. But, shepherd’s pie can be served with side dishes, too. Anyway, here are some great ideas.

- Brussels sprouts
- Mushy peas
- Eggplant
- Green beans
- Asparagus
- Swiss chard
- Cauliflower
- Artichokes
- Butternut squash
- Homemade bread
- Dinner rolls

Shepherd’s pie leftovers

It's a bit funny situation to have leftovers from the shepherd’s pie because the leftovers are kind of essence of this meal. But, if that happens, keep in mind that you can freeze the shepherd’s pie leftovers. You can even freeze the whole meal when you prepare it.  Take it out of the oven, let it cool down. When it is cool, cover with foil and place in the freezer. You can keep it in there for up to two months. Whenever you are ready to eat it, just take it out (together with foil). Pop into the oven for an hour at 350 degrees. And you have your meal ready. 

Furthermore, if you are freezing the shepherd’s pie pieces, you can also reheat them easily. Take them out of the freezer the night before you want to eat them. Place it in the fridge to defrost overnight. Tomorrow, take it out, put it on the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and heat the pieces for about 15 to 18 minutes. Then enjoy your delicious shepherd’s pie. 

Shepherd’s pie with beef and yuca

An all-time classic, shepherd’s pie has all the right elements in the right order, a balanced healthy meal, making it a total hit for children. This recipe is pretty easy, a good beginner recipe, easy to follow. And even though it takes very little "science", it takes the love and the soul to cook it right. You won't be disappointed.

For a change, this specific recipe has mashed yuca instead of potatoes. The yuca and the butter add a very different texture and my children love this version of shepherd pie. I also used lean ground beef instead of the lamb because the lamb protein seems to be harder to process for some in my family. The basic concept is there though. And the secret is adding a layer of cheese to the top of the pie. I used an aged Gruyere in this recipe and it gives that extra flavor that makes this recipe a total winner.

Yields1 Serving
Cook Time25 mins
Shepherd's pie ingredients
 1 Sweet Onion - chopped
 4 Garlic Cloves - minced
 1 lb Yuca
 ¼ cup Celery - minced
 1 cup Tomatoes - diced
 ½ cup Peas - cooked
 1 lb Ground Beef - lean
 ½ cup Carrots - diced
 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  cup Heavy Cream
 2 tbsp Butter
 1 tsp Oregano - dried
 2 tsp Salt
 1 tsp Sugar
 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
 ½ tsp Ground Pepper
 1 cup Cheese (a mix of Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Gruyere cheese)
The mashed yuca
1

1. Start making your shepherd’s pie by peeling the yuca and cut it to 2-inch pieces
2. Pour water in a big pot and let it boil
3. When it boils, add the yuca
4. Cook it until it is easy to stab with a fork (in the same manner you cook potatoes)
5. When it is done, take it out of the water, start mixing with a potato masher (don't forget to remove the stems that were in the middle of yuca), add the heavy cream, salt, and butter. Mix it all very well and leave it for later.

mashed potatoes

The shepherd's pie meat sauce
2

1. Cook the peas (you can boil it in the water for about 3-5 minutes or steam it for about two to four minutes)
2. Heat olive oil in the large frying pan
3. Add the chopped sweet onion, stir well and cook until the onion is crystalized
4. Add four minced garlic cloves, ¼ cups of minced celery, ½ cups of diced carrots, ½ cups of previously cooked peas, and lean ground beef.
5. Stir well, then add oregano, salt, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ground pepper
6. Cook for about 7 minutes while breaking the meat with a wooden spoon
7. In the end, when the meat changes the color to brown, add tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes while stirring occasionally

shepherd’s pie meat sauce with peas

Layering the shepherd's pie
3

1. Take a baking lasagna tray
2. Put the first layer of the mashed yuca
3. Then, add the meat sauce
4. Cover with the remaining mashed yuca, one spoon at the time, while spreading it evenly
5. Sprinkle the cheese mix of Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Gruyere cheese on top

layering the shepherd’s pie

Baking the shepherd's pie
4

1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees
2. Bake for about 25 minutes until the cheese on the top grills nicely and becomes crispy
3. Take it out of the oven and serve

Enjoy with a green salad and fresh lemonade!

Drinking paring: Peppermint lemonade
Music pairing: Bon Iver - "I can't make you love me"

shepherd’s pie in the oven

And the secret is adding a layer of cheese to the top of the pie. I used an aged Gruyere in this recipe and it gives that extra flavor that makes this recipe a total winner.

Ingredients

Shepherd's pie ingredients
 1 Sweet Onion - chopped
 4 Garlic Cloves - minced
 1 lb Yuca
 ¼ cup Celery - minced
 1 cup Tomatoes - diced
 ½ cup Peas - cooked
 1 lb Ground Beef - lean
 ½ cup Carrots - diced
 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  cup Heavy Cream
 2 tbsp Butter
 1 tsp Oregano - dried
 2 tsp Salt
 1 tsp Sugar
 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
 ½ tsp Ground Pepper
 1 cup Cheese (a mix of Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Gruyere cheese)

Directions

The mashed yuca
1

1. Start making your shepherd’s pie by peeling the yuca and cut it to 2-inch pieces
2. Pour water in a big pot and let it boil
3. When it boils, add the yuca
4. Cook it until it is easy to stab with a fork (in the same manner you cook potatoes)
5. When it is done, take it out of the water, start mixing with a potato masher (don't forget to remove the stems that were in the middle of yuca), add the heavy cream, salt, and butter. Mix it all very well and leave it for later.

mashed potatoes

The shepherd's pie meat sauce
2

1. Cook the peas (you can boil it in the water for about 3-5 minutes or steam it for about two to four minutes)
2. Heat olive oil in the large frying pan
3. Add the chopped sweet onion, stir well and cook until the onion is crystalized
4. Add four minced garlic cloves, ¼ cups of minced celery, ½ cups of diced carrots, ½ cups of previously cooked peas, and lean ground beef.
5. Stir well, then add oregano, salt, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ground pepper
6. Cook for about 7 minutes while breaking the meat with a wooden spoon
7. In the end, when the meat changes the color to brown, add tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes while stirring occasionally

shepherd’s pie meat sauce with peas

Layering the shepherd's pie
3

1. Take a baking lasagna tray
2. Put the first layer of the mashed yuca
3. Then, add the meat sauce
4. Cover with the remaining mashed yuca, one spoon at the time, while spreading it evenly
5. Sprinkle the cheese mix of Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Gruyere cheese on top

layering the shepherd’s pie

Baking the shepherd's pie
4

1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees
2. Bake for about 25 minutes until the cheese on the top grills nicely and becomes crispy
3. Take it out of the oven and serve

Enjoy with a green salad and fresh lemonade!

Drinking paring: Peppermint lemonade
Music pairing: Bon Iver - "I can't make you love me"

shepherd’s pie in the oven

Shepherd’s pie
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