Shepherd’s Pie is a simple dish made of lamb or mutton, topped with mashed potatoes. When beef is used it is properly called “cottage pie”
It dates back to the 1800s, originating in the sheep-raising areas of northern England and Scotland, when frugal housewives sought creative ways to “makeover” cooked meat, marking the acceptance of potatoes as a food source for humans. The actual phrase “Shepherd’s Pie” dates back to the 1870s, when mincing machines made the shredding of meat easy and popular.
Typically made with carrots, you can add parsnips, turnips or whatever you have on hand. For a colourful twist use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes.
Satisfying Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)
- 1 lb. ground round lamb, mutton, or lean ground beef
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 cup carrots finely chopped
- 1 cup parsnips finely chopped (optional)
- ½ cup beef stock
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3-6 cups mashed potatoes
- 3-6 cups mashed sweet potatoes (optional)
- Preheat to 400°F and grease an 8 x 10 inch baking dish.
- Sauté onions, carrots, and parsnips in a small amount of vegetable oil over medium heat until tender.
- Add the ground meat and sauté until no pink remains. Next add the thyme, Worcestershire Sauce, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Add the beef stock and cook, uncovered, over low heat for about 10minutes, adding more stock as necessary to keep moist.
- Add the frozen peas, and spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish.
- Add the mashed potatoes on top of the mixture. For a special treat, fill a large pastry bag with a fluted end and pipe the potatoes on top of the meat, but be sure your potatoes are well mashed or the lumps will clog your piping tube.
- Place the piping bag in a tall flower vase to help you fill it.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned.
Best Healthy Mashed Potatoes
- 4 pounds potatoes Yukon Gold are best
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- ¼ cup chicken stock warmed
- 1 cup milk or cream, heated
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- Scrub, peel potatoes and quarter the potatoes, trying to keep all the same size so they all cook at the same time. Place in a pot of cold water, then remove the water and refill the pot to remove extra starch, filling the pot until the potatoes are just covered.
- Set the pot on medium-high heat and cook uncovered until you can easily pierce with a fork, about 20 minutes. Strain the water from the potatoes, retaining the water if you have a need for potato water. Leave the potatoes in the pot.
- If mashing by hand, add the butter and start mashing then slowly add the warmed stock and milk until you get the right consistency for you.If you use a potato ricer, rice the potatoes first and then add the wet ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper, and serve.