The Shady Porch: Shepherd's Pie aka Cottage Pie


Shepherd's Pie aka Cottage Pie

Shepherd's Pie is a great way to use leftovers, although we rarely wait to have leftovers to make ours.
It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so whether it's a British dish or Irish, I am sharing my Americanized version here.  I've read many recipes for the dish and I've added my tweaks and tips to get the dish prepared in less time without sacrificing anything in flavor. In my hunt for ideas and methods to better the dish, I ran across a story about Donovan's Pub in Queens, NY, where the Donovan brothers have been preparing their American-Irish version for the past 46 years, it looks awesome and I would love to visit Donovan's to try it one day!
 (video link - Source: Shepherd's Pie At Donovan's Pub via CHOW by: Liza de Guia). 

Shepherd's Pie aka Cottage Pie mashed potatoes gravy vegetables
 Shepherd's Pie aka Cottage Pie
My starting point, rather than the traditional lamb (from which the dish draws its name), has always been ground sirloin. I've also heard the dish called Cottage Pie, suggesting humble beginnings as a poor man's dish. I have no problem with that as I am a fan of inexpensive and tasty!

Here is my version of Shepherd's Pie aka Cottage Pie

2 lbs ground sirloin
6 lg. Idaho potatoes - chopped & rinsed (I used what I have on hand, but really any variety of potatoes make a great mash.)
1/2 c. milk or cream ( I use buttermilk, if I have it on hand.)
2 T. butter
1/4 c. sour cream
4 T. olive oil
2-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
3/4 c. chopped onion
1- 12oz. pkg - Mixed Vegetables (corn, peas, carrots, green beans) - frozen
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 c. beef broth
3 T. ketchup or cocktail sauce
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. flour (SR or all-purpose, it really doesn't matter)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 9x12 casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside. 

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Add ground sirloin and cook until well browned. Drain beef, if needed.

Place chopped and rinsed potatoes in Ziploc Zip 'N Steam bag(s). I used 2 steamer bags. I no longer peel my potatoes since we've learned the skin is where the bulk of a potato's nutrients come from. It's such a great time savings, too!  Cook in microwave, according to steamer bag directions. My brand called for 8 minutes (each bag). 

Once the potatoes are out of the microwave, I microwave my frozen vegetables according to the instructions on the packaging.  Once cooked, add the drained can of corn and mix well.

To prepare the beef gravy - Add flour to drained, well browned beef. Stir in and cook for a minute or so. Add beef broth and ketchup to the meat mixture. If you like peppery gravy, now is the time to add about 1/2 teaspoon. Simmer for 6-7 minutes. 

To prepare the mashed potatoes  - Be careful opening the steam bags (the escaping steam can be surprisingly hot..even if allowed to rest for a couple of minutes.) Empty bag(s) into large mixing bowl. Beat with mixer until potatoes are in little pieces. Add butter, milk (cream or buttermilk), sour cream, salt and pepper. Beat until fluffy and lump free. Add milk as needed until the desired consistency of your mashed potatoes is reached.
Shepherd's Pie aka Cottage Pie mashed potatoes gravy vegetables
Shepherd's Pie Layering Steps - #1 Beef & Gravy, #2 Mixed Veggies & #3 Mashed Potatoes
To assemble in the prepared cooking dish
  • Even layer of meat-gravy mixture.
  • Next, top with an even layer of the mixed vegetables.  
  • Finally, finish with a layer of the mashed potatoes. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top gets a little crusty or begins to brown. 
  • In the final minutes sprinkle the cheese on top and bake until it melts and browns up.  
This recipe makes 10-12 servings. We like to store leftovers in single serving-sized containers for lunches that week! Just microwave to reheat! My hubby thinks it sure beats cafeteria food! (He also thinks shepherds eat pretty well, as a rule!)

NOTE: You might want to put a cookie sheet under the dish in case it bubbles over during cooking.

If you like one dish meals you will love