Shepherd’s Pie aka Cottage Pie Recipe

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve played around with a number of Shepherd’s Pie recipes and I think tonight’s was the best yet. First, I will say yes I know that this technically was a “Cottage Pie” if you’re British apparently. I used ground beef rather than lamb.  In my part of the US, it would be called Shepherd’s Pie though so that’s the name I’m using.

The recipes I’ve used have a few things in common.

Cooked together:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup or so chopped onion (1 small onion, don’t bother measuring)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • some Worcestershire (optional but I like it)
  • some tomato thing (ketchup or tomato paste typically)
  • some beef broth
  • maybe some wine
  • some flour or cornstarch

Once the beef is cooked and spread in a buttered/greased casserole dish, you can add

  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup cooked carrots
  • or any combination of these or none of these
  • mashed potatoes to top
  • some sort of cheese (Cheddar or Parmesan usually) on top of the potatoes

So that’s the pattern.  Some recipes I’ve tried have had tarragon in the ground beef but I wasn’t crazy about that.  Some I’ve seen but not tried have used a can of cream of mushroom soup instead of the beef broth/flour so you could sub that if you need to.  What I did tonight, that I think will become my “go to” Shepherd’s Pie (until I see some new idea) is the following.

Shepherd's Pie aka Cottage Pie

  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (or thereabouts, 1 small onion diced)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 heaping Tbs of flour
  • 1/3 cup white wine (optional, add more water if you don't use)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes (could use instant if you needed or those frozen ones)
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  1. If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes, peel and cube the potatoes and start them simmering in some salted water. Cook until just tender, then mash with some butter and milk and stir in salt and pepper. Err on the "more milk" side so you can easily spread them over the casserole.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a deep skillet and cook the onion while you're mincing the garlic. Add the ground beef once the onion has softened a bit. Stir and break up the ground beef until browned. Drain any extra fat into a can to throw away (or feed your dogs or cats). Add the garlic, ketchup and Worcestershire. Cook a few minutes, then stir in the beef broth and flour. (You could also use cornstarch if that's all you have. Mix it into the broth first.) Add the wine (or use more water or broth) and simmer 15 minutes or so while you make the mashed potatoes.
  3. Grease a dish. A 7x12" is perfect to me but you could make do with a 9x9 or a round pie dish or whatever. Put the ground beef mix into it. Scatter the peas and/or corn and/or carrots across the top. Peas and corn are my favorite but I use whatever I have around. Spread the mashed potatoes across the top and then sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20-45 minutes. It's flexible. Just before serving move it up under the broiler and broil until you get a nice lightly browned topping, then serve.




  1. Ann,
    I’ve made a similar dish with leftover turkey before and it was delicious.


  2. Ann Washburn says:

    can you also do this with chicken instead of ground beef? we are not big beef eaters in our house, and I mainly cook with chicken.


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