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British Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie, a rich meaty lamb casserole which is encased in a layer of mashed potato, baked until golden brown and bubbling.

March 20, 2021
Classic Shepherd’s PiePhoto By Canva
Difficulty Medium
Servings 6 people
Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 75 mins
Total 90 mins



Shepherd’s Pie Filling

  1. Place a saute pan on medium heat and add the vegetable oil.
  2. Then add the onion, carrot and celery, saute for 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Stir in the garlic, rosemary and thyme, cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Next add the ground lamb, brown well for 5 minutes.
  5. Into the saute pan add the plain flour and tomato paste, stir to combine and cook out for 1 minute.
  6. Pour the lager into the pan and reduce by half.
  7. Then add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  8. Remove the saute pan from the heat and stir in the frozen peas, season with salt and black pepper.
  9. Transfer the shepherd’s pie filling into a baking dish and smooth down, set aside to cool.

Assembling the Pie Filling with Mashed Potato

  1. Spoon a thick layer of mashed potato over the cooled shepherd’s pie filling and smooth down.
  2. Use a fork to mark ridges in the top of the mashed potato creating a crisp and golden crust.
  3. Place the shepherd’s pie in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Once golden brown and bubbling remove the shepherd’s pie from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve a hearty bowl of shepherd’s pie whilst hot.
  6. Store the cooked shepherd’s pie in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

Mashed Potatoes Directions

  • Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.
  • Then put it in a saucepan, add water and salt and boil thoroughly.
  • Add the butter, cream, salt, white pepper (you can also use black pepper) and nutmeg grated into the boiled potatoes and crush thoroughly with a potato crusher.
  • When it reaches a smooth consistency, take it to the serving plate and decorate with mint.
  • Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 1 Classic Shepherd’s Pie
    Serves 6
    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value*
    Cholesterol 110 mg36.7%
    Sodium 539 mg23.4%
    Potassium 1414 mg30.1%
    Protein 29.6 g59.2%
    Total Fat 24 g30.8%
    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


    • Allow the meat filling to cool in the baking dish before adding the layer of mashed potato, this ensures two defined layers and prevents the mash from sinking during cooking.
    • The mashed potato should be a creamy, spreadable consistency as this is easier to apply to the dish and will firm slightly developing a crust whilst baking.
    • Score the top of the mashed potato with a fork before baking to produce grooves which will crisp in the oven.
    • For an even more luxurious mashed potato stir through a bold flavoured cheese such as parmesan, cheddar or gruyere which will gratinate as the dish bakes.
    Rate This Recipe

    Simple comfort food, there is good reason that shepherd’s pie is a classic dish. Lamb mince is simmered in a thick gravy with chopped onion, carrot and celery then transferred to a baking dish and generously topped with luxurious mashed potato. Bake the shepherd’s pie in the oven at a medium heat to bring the flavors together and develop a golden topped crust. Serve our shepherd’s pie recipe as a hearty midweek meal to please the whole family.

    Why is it called shepherd’s pie?

    Shepherd’s pie contains meat from lamb or mutton and so the word ‘shepherd’ refers to the person who tends to the sheep. Commonly in America dishes will still be served as ‘shepherd's pie’ but in fact contain ground beef as the meat is favoured throughout the country. Vegan and vegetarian meat-free versions of the dish are often called ‘shepherdless pie’.

    Where does shepherd’s pie come from?

    Shepherd’s pie originates in Britain from northern England and Scotland. Sheep are a common livestock and can be found grazing throughout the British countryside, as a result there are many regional variations with the most popular being Irish and English.

    There is a French version of shepherd’s pie named ‘hachis parmentier’ which is recorded shortly after the documentation of the British version.

    The invention of shepherd’s pie is believed to have been a method for housewives to use up leftover roasted meats. Originally this could be any meat which was finely chopped by hand, with a layer of mashed potato in the base of the pie dish, a layer of meat filling then topped with a second layer of mashed potato and baked in the oven. Over time the name shepherd’s pie became used to distinguish the lamb within the dish.

    What is the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?

    Both dishes are very similar in ingredients and cooking methods with the main difference being that shepherd’s pie contains lamb/mutton while cottage pie contains beef. Following the introduction of potatoes to Britain the ingredient became an affordable food source and led to the creation of cottage pie.

    The name cottage pie refers to the cottages which the poorer British people lived in and could contain any leftover meats. The name shepherd’s pie came into use later to specify that the dish contained lamb. Our recipe can be recreated using beef mince and produce a classic cottage pie which is just as delicious. Another variation of the dish is ‘Cumberland pie’ which tops the mashed potato with cheese and breadcrumb for a rich, textured crust.

    What to serve with shepherd’s pie?

    Shepherd’s pie is a whole meal within itself, providing starch, meat, vegetables and sauce all within the dish. To balance the richness of the dish a light side salad would be a welcome addition or boiled green vegetables such as peas, mange tout, cabbage and kale.

    Frequently carrots and peas are added to the base with the lamb meat so there is no need for extra vegetables. In Britain many people enjoy their shepherd’s pie served with HP sauce or tomato ketchup.

    Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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