Classic Shepherd's Pie, or Cottage Pie, with ground beef and vegetables topped with creamy mashed potatoes and cheese.
I've said before how it's funny where the inspiration for recipes comes from. A week or two ago I was surfing channels and saw someone on one of the cooking channels making a Shepherd's Pie. I probably hadn't thought about Shepherd's Pie in ten years and that one looked so good. Delicious, really. All that browned ground beef and vegetables topped with creamy mashed potatoes and cheese. Who wouldn't like that?
I watched the rest of the show and the following show but that Shepherd's Pie was just stuck in my mind. After a full week with that dish still in my head, I knew I had to make one. I didn't have a recipe so I started browsing the internet and found one that looked really good on Simply Recipes. That's the blog of Elise Bauer, one of the first food bloggers on the internet. Any time you need a recipe, chances are you can find a great one on her site.
How to Make Shepherd's (or Cottage) Pie
To get started, the first thing you need to do is make some mashed potatoes. Just cut your potatoes up into large chunks, put them in salty water, bring them to a boil and let them cook for about 20 minutes while you make the rest of the recipe.
Chop a medium sized onion and saute it in a little butter. Remove that from the pan and set it aside while you cook the ground beef.
Add the ground beef to the same pan in which you cooked the onion. Cook the beef, breaking it up as you go, until there is no visible pink color remaining. Cook's note: Shepherd's Pie is also good using a mixture of half ground beef and half ground lamb. For economy, I used only ground beef as lamb is quite expensive right now.
Drain the excess fat from the ground beef and return it to the pan. Add the onions back along with corn, peas, salt, pepper, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix all that together well and add the beef broth.
Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes adding a small amount more beef broth if necessary to just keep the mixture moist.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
While the beef mixture is simmering, drain the potatoes and mash them with the remaining butter, salt and pepper. Add the milk or half-and-half if desired. I prefer to add the milk since I like creamier mashed potatoes.
Place the beef mixture in a baking dish or leave it in the cast iron skillet if you used one. Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Place the skillet or baking dish in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the baking dish or skillet from the oven and distribute the grated cheese evenly over the mashed potatoes. Return the pan to the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to bubble.
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- 2 pounds potatoes
- 6 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 ¼ pounds ground beef
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup beef broth
- ¼ cup milk or half-and-half optional
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
- While the potatoes are cooking, melt 2 tblsp. butter in a large frying pan or cast iron skillet. Over medium high heat, saute the onions in the butter until tender and beginning to take on a little brown color. Remove the onions to a plate and hold until later.
- Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until no pink color remains. Drain the excess fat and return the ground beef to the pan.
- Add the onions back to the pan along with the corn, peas, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir together and add the beef broth. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes adding more beef broth if necessary to keep the mixture just moist.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- While the beef mixture is simmering, drain the potatoes and mash with the remaining 4 tblsp. butter, salt and pepper. Add the milk or half-and-half if desired.
- Place the beef mixture in a baking dish or leave it in the cast iron skillet if you used one.
- Spread the mashed potatoes on top.
- Place the skillet or baking dish in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and distribute the grated cheese over the mashed potatoes.
- Return the pan to the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to bubble.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.