Friday, March 19, 2021

Shepherd's Pie

In another life I would have liked to be a chef. Or a food blogger. And while I  consider myself a pretty capable chef...a food blogger I am not. But I'll be pretending I am anyways. Yesterday I made a shepherd's pie which is one of my favorite comfort foods. I don't make it a lot because we try not to eat mashed potatoes every week but I certainly could. Now before I get into this, I'd just like to say for any traditionalists out there that I know that technically what I'm about to share is actually a cottage pie and that I used several non-traditional ingredients. But nevertheless I'm calling it shepherd's pie because that's what I've always called it. 

When I was growing up, my mom would make shepherd's pie using leftover roast. Which is how I would recommend if if you have leftover roast sitting around. I typically do not so I have adapted it to be a ground beef recipe which is great because it's quick and inexpensive! And still delicious, don't worry. First things first, get out all your ingredients. Now if you're like me, you'll start getting things out only to realize you don't have everything you want. 

Food blogger tip- when photographing ingredients it's best to put the labels the other way so your readers can see them. That mystery bottle with the label facing backwards is worcestershire sauce. 

And this is where I start to go a bit rogue with the recipe. I didn't have tomato paste. So I grabbed some ketchup. But decided it was going to be too sweet so I used some ketchup mixed with A1 sauce. I put A1 in my meatloaf so I figured it would be good here too. Spoiler was.  Also, lest you be thinking i'm always this organized when cooking, rest assured I usually grab things as I go rather than lay them all out neatly before I start. 

Now to get cooking. Onions chopped up and into the pan. Is there a better smell than onions cooking in some butter and oil? I think not. 

As the onions softened up I added my ground beef and the spices. I used a tablespoon of italian seasoning (which yes, goes very well in a traditional English dish) and 2 teaspoons of dried parsley as well. I added my flour to thicken it up and its at this point I would typically want  to add worcestershire sauce and tomato paste, but on this occasion is where I added in a tablespoon of ketchup/A1. 

Now many recipes will tell you to use just a peas and carrots mixture and then to add in some corn. I however, find it so much simpler to just buy the frozen mixed veggies. These have all 3 of those plus green beans. The green beans only make it better! So those get tossed in to heat up and soak in the flavors. And while they're doing that, I added a cup of beef broth and an optional splash of red wine. 

After this mixture has boiled and cooked for a few minutes, I take it off the heat and let it cool down some. This isn't required but I like it to cool a bit before I pour it into the casserole pan. It also gives me time to work on the best part of the dish- mashed potatoes! 

I boil my potatoes and mash them with some butter, sour cream, milk and a splash of heavy cream. I do not measure this...I eyeball it until it looks delicious and is the consistency I'm looking for. I feel like everybody has their opinions about the right consistency of mashed potatoes so I won't tell you what the right consistency is. On this occasion, I used thin skinned baby dutch potatoes so I actually left the skin on when I mashed them. Saves some prep work and is very tasty. 

Then it's time to layer. I think if you cook something in a pretty dish it tastes better so instead of a usual casserole dish I use one of my pretty pie dishes. Meat mixture on the bottom and potatoes spread evenly on the top. 

And now for my last unconventional ingredient of the dish...I added some cheese to the top. Not a lot, just enough. Certainly not necessary but doesn't cheese just make everything better? 
When it comes out of the oven you are rewarded with a crispy on the top, rich stewy goodness underneath delight. 

I will say my food blogging skills need some work but my chef skills were on point with this recipe. It was devoured by my husband and I with seconds for lunch today. Full of all the warmth and comfort that shepherd's pie should have. 

This month I am linking up with "Two Writing Teachers" for a slice of life, daily writing challenge.


  1. A recipe slice ... that's a good idea! I'm like you ... I often realize I don't have all that I need for a recipe ... but I just substitute. Now my kids are doing most of the dinner cooking!

  2. That looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I reckon you're pretty good at food blogging actually as you draw the reader in with your comments and suggestions. No wonder you enjoyed it. I love shepherd's pie too, with variations. I've made a note of your additions for the future!

  3. I have heard of Shepherd's Pie all my life but I've never eaten it nor have I made it. I think we would love it so think I need to give it a try. I'll give you a definite thumbs up on food blogging for sure. Have a great weekend!

  4. What you really need is your own show : )

  5. You make Shepard's Pie the same way I do! I always use ground beef. I didn't have tomato paste so I used tomato sauce. I didn't have any beef broth so I used an onion soup mix. Sometimes you just have to be creative... necessity is the mother of invention!

  6. I'm not surprised it tasted delicious but wine is never optional in this house lol