Shepherd's Pie Recipe


Shepherd's Pie pictured here with a simple sauté of dandelion greens, mushrooms, and small tomatoes. See notes for a link to that recipe.

When local grocer, Mother Earth Food, asked for a Super Bowl recipe, this favorite potluck recipe immediately came to mind. It's hearty, great for sharing, and delicious with a pint of beer. This recipe makes 6-8 servings but it's easy to double up for larger gatherings.


Shepherd's Pie is a classic British Dish usually made with lamb, while Cottage Pie is a version made with beef. However, here in the United States we tend to lump the two together. For this recipe, I used grass-fed ground beef but you could easily swap it for lamb without any other changes. And believe it or not, this is an easy dish to make vegan with yummy lentils, mushrooms, and walnuts. Check out the notes at the very end of the recipe for details.


This recipe is really two separate recipes that come together in a final dish: mashed potatoes + a meat pie filling and then final assembly. They are shown as two separate recipes below but my general workflow is to start the potatoes in boiling water, then move on to the meat filling while the potatoes cook. When the potatoes are done cooking, I leave them to cool as I finish the meat. Once the meat pie mix is done, I turn my attention back to finishing the mashed potatoes at step 4 and then move onto final assembly.


In the final assembly, the meat and potato are layered in a casserole dish, then topped with cheddar cheese and baked. Personally, I don't eat a lot of cheese these days and like to top mine with a yummy mix of ghee, nutritional yeast, and a little salt. This meal goes digests so much better without a ton of cheese. By all means, enjoy it with cheese if that is your preference, but I guarantee you'll love this modification if you decide to give it a try. I offer both options below.


You'll find three sections below: the mashed potato recipe, the meat mixture recipe, and then the final assembly.


Shepherd's Pie Recipe

(45 minutes, 6-8 servings)


Full list of ingredients:

  • 5-7 russet potatoes: washed, peeled and quartered

  • 2.25 tsp sea salt + more to taste

  • 4 Tbsp ghee or vegan/regular butter, + more to taste

  • 1/2 cup milk or nut milk + more for your preferred texture

  • 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, minced

  • 1 large carrot minced (*See Note)

  • 1 lb grass-fed beef

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 2 Tbsp corn starch

  • 1/2 cup of peas

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper +

  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, OR...

  • 1/3 cup of ghee

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (Lewis Labs is the best!)

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Part I: Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 5-7 russet potatoes: washed, peeled and quartered

  • 1.5 tsp salt, divided + more to taste

  • 3 Tbsp ghee or vegan/regular butter, + more to taste

  • 1/2 cup milk or nut milk + more for your preferred texture

Directions

  1. Place potatoes into a large pot. Add 1 tsp salt and cover with water, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Boil until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

  3. Strain into a colander and leave to set for at least 5 minutes to let all the water drain out - very important. (*This is where I jump to preparing the meat pie mixture.)

  4. Put butter, almond milk and 1 tsp of salt into the original pot and warm over low until butter is melted ~ about 1-2 minutes

  5. Turn the heat off, add potatoes and begin mashing. You can use a masher or a hand mixer. I prefer a less uniform texture and so I use a masher. Be sure to sweep the masher around the bottom of the potatoes every once in a while to turn the potato mixture over.

  6. If the potatoes seem dry, add more milk in small amounts (to avoid making it soupy).

  7. Add more butter or salt to taste, then set aside until final assembly.

Part II: Meat Pie Mixture

Ingredients

  • 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, minced

  • 1 Tbsp ghee or other oil

  • 1 large carrot minced (*See Note)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 lb grass-fed beef

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 2 Tbsp corn starch

  • 1/2 cup of peas

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Add onion and ghee to a large frying pan and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat.

  2. Add carrot and salt to the pan and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until carrots are al dente (they will continue to soften so you want some firmness still at this step).

  3. Add beef (or lamb) to the pan. Break it apart with your hands as you add it or use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it up in the pan while cooking. Stir frequently until meat is browned, about 3-5 minutes.

  4. Turn off and temporarily remove from the heat. You can strain off some of the animal fat here, if you prefer, but I like to keep mine.

  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  6. In a small bowl, combine beef broth and corn starch.

  7. Return beef mixture to heat (med-high) and pour in the broth & cornstarch mix.

  8. Bring to simmering and let thicken about 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

  9. Mix in peas and black pepper.

  10. Taste meat pie mix, different broths have different levels of salt and spiciness. Do you want to add salt or pepper? Adjust to taste, then set aside for final assembly.

Notes

  • Scrub your carrots, but do not peel them (unless there are super icky parts). Most of the nutrition is concentrated in the outer layers of the skin.

Part III: Final Assembly

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, OR...

  • 1/3 cup of ghee

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (Lewis Labs is the best!)

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Place meat mixture into a large glass baking dish (at least 2.75 quart) in a single layer.

  2. Add a top layer of mashed potatoes by topping with several small scoops, then spreading it out so as to not disturb the bottom layer.

  3. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and move to step X, or...

  4. Melt ghee in a small pan over low, then remove from heat.

  5. Add nutritional yeast and salt and mix together, then pour evenly on top of the Shepherd's Pie.

  6. Put the Shepherd's Pie into oven for 15-20 minutes.

  7. Let cool for about 10 minutes then serve!

  8. Serve with fresh cracked pepper.


Notes ~ Vegan Option

  • Replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.

  • Replace the butter or ghee with another oil while cooking. Please do not cook with vegan butter at high heat, it is not made for cooking at high temps. Use coconut, avocado, or olive oil instead.

  • Use vegan butter in step 4 of the mashed potato recipe and in the final assembly with the nutritional yeast, to keep that buttery taste in the final dish. Use low heat.

  • Replace the meat with a mixture of:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, soaked for an hour then strained (make this your first step).

  • 1.5 cups cooked green or brown lentils

  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped, and sautéed using olive oil and a pinch of salt

Simple Sautéed Greens is a wonderful side for this dish. The recipe can be found here.

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