Introduction: Shepherds Pie

People frequently tell me that i make awesome shepherds pie, they could just be being nice, but i choose to believe that i do.

start to finish this usually takes me an hour to an hour and a half, and usually feeds 4, with seconds for everyone. I usually make it for 2 and have leftovers for a few weeks. it freezes well and with the addition of a microwave makes a great lunch at work.

Step 1: Ingredients.. Sort Of

First off, I wont give you specific amounts. That's because 1, it's not that important, and 2, i don't even know how much i use of what.
That said, use the pictures to give you an idea of the proportions, and do all your seasoning to taste. don't be afraid to use lots of seasoning.

Here is what I usually use

-Ground beef
-Celery
-Carrots
-Onions
-Garlic
-potatoes
-yams/sweet potatoes
-milk
-margarine/butter
-frozen mixed veggies
-frozen green beans
-cheddar cheese
-salt and pepper
-garlic salt
-rosemary
-thyme (though this time i used savory)
-nutmeg

that's actually a longer ingredient list than i thought, in any case it's all either a staple ingredient, cheap, or both.

Step 2: Boil Them Taters

To start with peel your yam and potatoes, or don't. I never do.

Now, yams cook faster than potatoes. You need to leave the chunks of yam larger than the potatoes if you want everything to be cooked at the same time. I'd say my potato chunks are about 1/3 the size of the yam chunks.
Once everything's chopped toss it into a pot of water with some oil, put on a lid and boil away.

we'll come back to these when they're cooked.

Step 3: Making the Meat

Chop your celery, carrots, and onions. Dice the garlic

Toss celery carrots and onion into a pan with some oil and fry them until the onions are getting translucent.
Once the veggies are done add the ground beef and garlic. When your beef is most of the way browned add however much frozen vegetables you'd like. Once the veggies are thawed I add my spices. I tend to go a little heavy with the rosemary and thyme/savory and and just a little dash of nutmeg. As always, salt and pepper to taste.

You may have noticed that we haven't drained the beef at any point, that's because I'm going to use that grease to make gravy. I never said this was healthy, just awesome.

You have 2 choices on how to make your gravy, you can either
-add some flour(a tbsp. or so at a time), a little water and a tsp./cube of oxo/bovril or whatever
-or go the lazy way and just toss in a packet of the instant gravy of your choice. when i use instant gravy i just add the powder.

Today, I'm lazy and using roast chicken gravy, but every kind of gravy I've tried seems to taste good as well. Once the gravy is doing it's thing It's time to turn off the heat and set it aside. until the potatoes are done.

Step 4: Mash Some Potatoes

First off, find your potato masher.
OK, now drain the potatoes and give them a good dollop of butter or margarine and a little milk. Give it a good mashing and add a bit more milk and butter/margarine as needed. repeat as necessary.
Once it's getting close to the right consistency i add garlic powder salt and pepper.

Step 5: Final Assembly

Start by transferring the meat into a roasting pan. it should fill it about half way, then top it with the mashed potatoes.
Next grate some cheese and put a good layer of grated cheese on top of the potatoes.

Set your oven to broil and put your shepherds pie on the top rack. broil it until the cheese is browned, then take it out, let it cool and enjoy.

Comments

author
EthansDad (author)2009-03-25

Don't shepherds herd sheep not cows? Methinks lamb would be more appropriate (and better!) than beef. Still looks great. Mouth watering.

author
spinning top (author)EthansDad2012-01-11

you are correct . shepherds eat lamb , and mutton ,
cottage pie is made with beef .
it a common mistake tho .

author
spinning top (author)2012-01-11

beef , i have never known a shepherd to eat BEEF , shepherds eat lamb/mutton ,
what you have made is cottage pie .
sorry to be a little picky , but its a common mistake.
thought you would like to know the difference

author
maltesergr8 (author)2010-07-02

Never heard of adding oil to water when boiling potatoes; what does the oil do? Thx.

author
spylock (author)2010-03-11

I do it in layers,a layer of potatos,meat and veg.,cheese,tomato soup in a can and repeat til the dish is full.I cut and boil my potatos before hand.

author
basjan (author)2009-03-31

Thanks it looks great

author
ClayOgre (author)2009-03-28

Faved...yummy lookin' recipe. Might I suggest the acquisition of a potato ricer for the mashing process...they work a lot better and you get basically no lumps.

author
kiwiowl (author)2009-03-28

Fully agree with goldenlad et al. This is 'cottage pie' change it to lamb for shepherds pie - which is far better too (IMHO). For some extra zist try a teaspoon or so of chilli powder if you're in to that sort of thing.

author
Angelsnap (author)2009-03-27

I tried this dish for company - risky, I know, but it was a hit! It was a one dish wonder! There wasn't anything I could have added to the side other than a salad to make this dinner any better. I did, however, skip all spices except salt, pepper and garlic salt. yum! Kudos! You should put this in a contest.. You will win! Thank you! Got anymore recipes?

author
piks (author)2009-03-26

Why do you add oil to the water you boil your potatoes in???????

author
armourkris (author)piks2009-03-26

It stops the water from foaming over when it boils, i'm honestly not sure if you need to do it with potatoes, but i do anyways.

author
krowii (author)armourkris2009-03-27

ah....interesting!

author
krowii (author)piks2009-03-26

To prevent the potatoes from sticking together?

author
mrmoonshineman (author)2009-03-27

Throughout this entire instructable i was drooling, but kept thinking, "this needs sauteed mushrooms." i'm definitely going to make a batch of this. i like your loose style of cooking.

author
John Smith (author)2009-03-27

looks delicious. a while back mom made shepherds pie with a side of corn(regular corn in a can, heat up, you know the drill). someody mixed it on accident with the shepherd's pie and liked it, (i like it), so now she always makes it with corn as a layer. i think its a nice variation.

author
gavnet (author)2009-03-27

Nice instructable, there's no cheese on a shepherds pie tho. Heres my shepherds pie instructable:

https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Good-Old-English-Shepherds-Pie-Recipe/

author
mmmmna (author)gavnet2009-03-27

Bah. I'm open to new interpretations! My pie uses ground beef, cream style corn, instant mashed potatoes, paprika, butter and shredded cheddar cheese.

author
cambalkon (author)2009-03-27

cam balkon imalat

author
Slisgrinder (author)2009-03-26

any way or alternative to make this vegetarian?

author

Yes,
I have made it vegetarian style with Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), or Gimme Lean "ground beef "
http://www.lightlife.com/product_detail.jsp?p=gimmeleanbeef, or even have used frozen, thawed, and crumbled tofu as the "beef base."
If you use tofu or TVP it helps to add a little soy sauce to enrich the flavor.

author
gnomedriver (author)2009-03-26

I love shepherds pie. Do you have any recipes for his sheep dog as well? It seems such a waste not to use it.

author
Father Christmas (author)2009-03-26

ya know what makes an interesting variation? me and my family use a box of cornbread/muffin mix(takes too long from scratch) and layer it just beneath the cheese. Final baking makes it work wonderfully.

author
Stew2 (author)2009-03-26

Im coming for dinner! :)

author
=SMART= (author)2009-03-26

Dammit im so hungry !!

author
Incanus (author)2009-03-26

Absolutely right it's cottage pie for beef and shepherds pie for lamb but you have to be sure to skim off some of the fat when using lamb or risk a greasy mess when it mixes with the fat from the cheese. I'm the cook here but the one dish that is always cooked by my wife is the shepherds pie as she makes a stunner. She's curious about the addition of yam and will be trying it next time. She also adds a little tomato puree as this makes the sauce richer and adds body when it cooks out but she too has given up with the posh gravy and also uses instant granules for maximum 'comfort food' effect. We grow our own veg so pre-cook the carrots in stock ( try a stock cube in the water instead of salt next time you cook carrots - trust me you'll never go back.....if you're making gravy then use the leftover water and you get every last bit of goodness from the carrots ! ). We live in Ireland so have ours with Irish Cheddar on the top and Guinness on the side :-)

author
goldenlad (author)2009-03-25

If it's beef then it's a Cottage Pie, a Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb.

author
armourkris (author)goldenlad2009-03-26

ya know, i didn't know that, i thought shepherds and cottage pie were interchangeable names for the same thing. I even have both names in the search tags. that said, i do make it with lamb on occasion, and it is REALLY good when i do, just way more expensive.

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