Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shepherd’s Pie

The story

This is an amazingly easy dish, and a great fall weather comfort food that my whole family enjoys.  Some true-blooded Irishmen may not call it proper, but everyone I have served this to loves it.  One of the key components that makes this dish is the use of both ground beef and mild sausage.  Please don’t overlook this, as it provides key flavor complexity.  I plan ahead when making this dish, and either double the recipe to freeze one (which works great I might add), or make plans to use the “other” half of the meat mixture later in the week (for pizza for example).

Shepherd’s Pie is a great casserole dish to make use of whatever you have on hand.  For example, just about any type of meat could potentially be substituted, or any number of vegetables could be used or added to this recipe.  And no, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  For example, Simply Potatoes has a great garlic mashed potato product that is usually found in the meat section of the grocery store.  We actually use these pre-made potatoes often just to reduce the amount of clean up.


  • 1/2 pound ground beef (I use 96% lean)
  • 1/2 pound ground mild sausage (I use HEB Light Sausage)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 small to medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

hardware required

  • 12” sauté pan
  • Large Dutch Oven for making Mashed Potatoes

Ready to Cook

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring your chopped potatoes to a boil over medium high heat in a large Dutch Oven.  Boil the potatoes until softened and drain.  Add the butter, sour cream and milk to your potatoes and mash to rough creamy texture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

In your sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until it shimmers.  Add your diced onions and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and just begin to brown a bit.  Add your garlic and stir together until aromatic.  Add the ground sausage to the pan and break it up to a small crumble.  Once the sausage begins to fade from pink to gray, add your ground beef and sauté together until the meats are browned.  If the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, add additional olive oil. 

Once the meat and onion mixture is well browned, add the other tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle the mixture with the flour until a roux is formed.  The flour should cling to the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (called fond), and to the side of the pan.  Stir in the beef broth until a rich, thick gravy is formed.  We are looking for a heavy gravy here, not a soup, so you may need to adjust the amount of broth you add accordingly depending on the amount of drippings that were formed in the pan.

Once the gravy and meat comes to a nice simmer, add your frozen vegetables, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, and stir to combine.  At this point, we are ready to bring it all together.  You can either transfer the meat mixture to a greased casserole dish of your choice, or if the sauté pan has an oven-safe handle, you can bake the casserole in the pan.

Sprinkle the meat mixture with 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese (the other 1/2 cup will be sprinkled on the top of the shepherd’s pie).  Next, use a rubber spatula to spoon the mashed potatoes onto the top of the meat mixture and spread evenly.  Top the potatoes with the reserved shredded cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top begins to brown, and the gravy just begins to bubble to the top of the casserole. 

To serve, scoop with a large spoon so that you get a good mixture of all the ingredients.  Served with a nice chewy sourdough or French bread, this a crowd pleaser.  And if you can resist the urge to eat the whole shepherd’s pie, the leftovers are even better the next day. 

1 comment:

  1. Definitely have to try this one!!!