Shepherd’s Pie, also known as Shepards Pie or Cottage Pie, is a classic dish that combines savory ground beef or lamb with a medley of vegetables in a rich gravy. Topped with creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes and baked to perfection, it’s a comfort food favorite. Now, let’s clear up a common misconception. The correct spelling is Shepherd’s Pie, not Shepards Pie. A quick Google search reveals that many people make this mistake, but we’re here to set the record straight.
Introducing the ingredients for the Ultimate Traditional Shepherd’s Pie
In traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie, ground lamb is the star ingredient. The key distinction between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie lies in the meat used. Cottage Pie features ground beef instead. In this recipe, I refer to it as Shepherd’s Pie, but feel free to use either ground beef or ground lamb based on your preference.
For the meat filling use:
– Olive oil for sautéing
– 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
– 1.5 pounds of ground beef or ground lamb (based on your preference)
– 1 teaspoon dried parsley
– 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
– 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1 cup beef broth
– 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots
– 1 cup frozen corn kernels
For the mashed potato topping use:
– 4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
– 4 tablespoons butter
– 1/2 cup half & half (or milk)
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
That’s it! With these ingredients, you’re well on your way to creating a delicious Shepherd’s Pie. Enjoy the process and savor the flavors of this classic comfort food. Typically, I use ground beef since it’s widely accessible. However, for special occasions like St. Patrick’s Day, I recommend using ground lamb to enhance the authentic Irish flavors.
Let’s Dive Into The Steps to Create The Perfect Shepherd’s Pie
1. Begin by sautéing chopped onions in olive oil until they turn golden and fragrant.
2. Add the ground beef or lamb to the pan and crumble with a wooden spoon. Season with dried parsley, dried rosemary, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook the meat until it browns, stirring occasionally.
3. Incorporate minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce into the mixture. Cook for an additional minute to blend the flavors.
4. Sprinkle flour and add tomato paste to the skillet, ensuring the ingredients are well combined. This step helps thicken the gravy.
5. Pour in beef broth, followed by frozen mixed peas and carrots, and frozen corn kernels. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gravy thickens.
- Meanwhile, boil peeled and chopped potatoes until they become tender. Once the potatoes are boiled, Drain and return them to the pot.7. Add butter, half & half, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mash them until smooth and creamy. Incorporate parmesan cheese into the mashed potatoes for an extra layer of flavor.8. Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish, spreading it evenly. Top it with the creamy mashed potatoes, ensuring an even layer.
9. If your baking dish looks quite full, place it on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any potential spills. Bake the Shepherd’s Pie in a preheated oven at 400°F until the meat is bubbling and the potatoes turn golden.
10. Allow the casserole to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. This waiting period helps the flavors meld together.
Feel free to pair your Shepherd’s Pie with a range of delightful side dishes such as deviled eggs, roasted broccoli, or even the best chocolate chip cookies. Preparing this classic dish is not overly complicated, but it does involve a few steps. To make it easier, consider preparing certain components ahead of time. You can make the meat filling or mashed potatoes in advance, or even assemble the entire casserole and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. Just remember to bake it within three days of preparation. When it’s time to bake, let the casserole sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before placing it in the oven. Remove the cover and let it bake until it’s golden and bubbling
Some Tips for Making The Best Shepherd’s Pie
- Fry the onions:
Sauté the finely chopped onions until golden brown and fragrant. This step adds delicious depth to the meat filling.
- Season the meat:
If roasting ground beef or lamb, season generously with dried parsley, dried rosemary, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. These herbs and spices add extra flavor to the dish.
- Don’t forget the garlic:
Add minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce to meat mixture. Garlic adds a nice aroma and flavor to the dish, and Worcestershire sauce adds a zesty flavor to the dish.
- Thicken the sauce:
Sprinkle flour on top and add tomato paste to the meat mixture. This will thicken the sauce and give it a nice texture.
- Use Frozen Vegetables:
To save time and ensure freshness, use frozen pea and carrot mixes and frozen corn kernels. It cooks perfectly in the oven and adds color and flavor to your dishes.
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
Boil the peeled and chopped potatoes until soft. Drain the water and return it to the pot. Add butter, half & half (or milk), garlic powder, salt, and pepper to make a smooth, creamy mashed potato. Don’t forget the grated parmesan cheese for extra flavor.
- Assemble carefully.
Place the meat mixture in casserole dish and spread evenly. Then layer the creamy mashed potatoes on top so that they are evenly distributed. This gives the shepherd’s pie a visually appealing and balanced look. 8. Bake to perfection:
Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake the shepherd’s pie until the meat is bubbly and the potatoes are golden brown. Allow enough time for the flavors to meld while keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t burn too much.
- Let cool before serving.
After removing the casserole from the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving. This guarantees good aroma development and a comfortable consumption temperature.
- Build your side dishes creatively:
Shepherd’s pie goes well with a variety of side dishes. Consider eating it with stuffed eggs, roasted broccoli, or your favorite salad. Adds freshness and variety to your meals.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to creating a memorable Shepherd’s Pie that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy the delicious flavors and the comfort of this classic dish. There you have it—the ultimate traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Enjoy this timeless dish with its rich flavors, comforting textures, and hearty goodness.
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