Shepherd’s Pie

If you’re like me, you kind of wrinkle up your nose in distaste when you hear “Shepherd’s Pie.” I’m not a big ketchup fan, and shepherd’s pie always makes me thing of ketchup. Ick. But the other day, after browsing a bunch of online recipes, I had a revelation: shepherd’s pie can be made any way I want it! It doesn’t have to mean boxed mashed potatoes or ketchup-flavored ground beef, but can be all sorts of things I like. (Duh, Brietta…)

And so I set about to make my own shepherd’s pie. The great thing about this sort of food is that it’s super easy to make extras, so I made two casseroles and sent one home with the friend who was painting my bedroom. (You’ve now been fairly warned that the amounts I list make a lot of shepherd’s pie!)

First, I quartered about 4lbs of potatoes, skins on (much healthier and just as tasty– trust me), put them in a pot, covered them with 1″ of water, brought it all to a boil, and simmered for 15 minutes until they were nice and tender. Then I put the pot aside for a bit.

Next I sauteed (for about 5-7min) 1 large diced onion, several (like 6 or 7) minced cloves of garlic, 3 sliced carrots, and 1 large chopped green bell pepper in olive oil. I used my favorite gigantic saute pan; a large saucepan would also work.

Then I added a little more than 1lb of ground beef and cooked until browned. I always drain off the fat, but do whatever you like. After draining, I added about 2c each of corn and green beans. I used frozen corn and canned green beans because that was what was in my kitchen. (For the record, I later wished I’d added more vegetables to make it a bit heartier. So go ahead and add more!)
(picture doesn’t include green beans)

I seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried thyme and then poured in about 2c of beef broth (made from bouillon), a couple tablespoons of flour, and about 1c of diced tomatoes. I stirred and cooked until it came to a bit of a boil and thickened. Then I poured it into 2 greased 9″x13″ pans.

In the now-empty saute pan, I brought 1c of water to a boil and wilted almost 1 whole bag of baby spinach by cooking for about 2 minutes, turning all the while. After draining and squeezing the spinach, I arranged it over top of the meat and veggie mixture. (Frozen spinach would work, too.)

All that was left to do was mash the potatoes (do it however you like best; I added about 2c of milk, a little butter, about 6oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, salt and pepper) and then spread them over top of the meat and veggies.

Bake at 400* for about 20 minutes, add a few homemade biscuits, and you’ve got a great family meal. Maybe I don’t dislike shepherd’s pie after all! ;)

The point is: switch any of the vegetables up, season it the way you like it, layer it the way you want it, etc. My new realization is that shepherd’s pie is a really great Clean-Out-The-Refrigerator meal that can taste great!


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  1. Sounds easy and economical and yummy to me. But I have always loved shepherd’s pie!

    Thanks, Bri!

    Posted by darlene | April 16, 2008, 7:10 am
  2. It does look yummy, although I suspect that half of that appeal is the Brietta/Louissa touch of having every carrot chopped exactly the same way, and nothing out of place. I’m afraid your fastidiousness in the kitchen eludes me… but it inspires me to keep trying! Aim high, right? :)

    Posted by Danica Dunphey | April 16, 2008, 9:50 am
  3. can I say that you don’t even have to be a shepherd to love this stuff? : )

    As the lucky recipient of Brietta’s casserole, let me say that
    we know the one on the left (in the photo) was superb!

    Posted by nancy | April 16, 2008, 11:03 am
  4. I make a lentil shepherd’s pie regularly, since my hubby loves lentils. They’re basically a substitute for the beef.

    Posted by Wendy | April 16, 2008, 4:51 pm
  5. I love sheperd’s pie and with lots of ketchup. I actually make mine with tomato soup mixed in with everything else. Some people tell me I’m crazy, but that is the way I like it.

    Posted by Laura Weber | April 18, 2008, 7:25 pm
  6. My friend makes shepards pie with beef, corn, and homemade mashed potatoes. No ketchup! I like it because it’s simple. Unfortunately due to many reasons, we don’t eat beef here anymore. I wonder if chicken would work??

    Posted by Randi Young | April 24, 2008, 4:22 am