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This Skillet Shepherd’s Pie recipe, also known as cottage pie, is loaded with flavorful beef and veggies, topped with fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes, then baked to perfection!
Shepherd’s pie is the epitome of simple and homely comfort food. It’s an easy and quite basic dish to put together, that’s been around for a very long time and there are probably hundreds of variations of it. It’s a homey, comforting casserole that we all love that combines ground meat, peas, carrots and corn, then topped with a mountain of mashed potatoes!
The great thing about my recipe is that it’s all make in a skillet which means only one pot to clean! Not to mention it’s super easy to make and can easily be done any night of the week!
What’s The Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie And Cottage Pie
Shepherd’s pie is also commonly referred to as cottage pie and there is a difference. Cottage pie is usually made with beef and Shepherd’s pie is usually made with lamb.
You’re probably wondering why I’m calling this Shepherd’s pie when it should be called cottage pie. It’s because I’ve always known it as Shepherd’s pie. Ground lamb is not something you’ll see in many grocery stores here in North America. Even in restaurants here, the beef version is always called Shepherd’s pie.
Another interesting fact to note about Shepherd’s pie is that Scotland usually makes these pies with a pastry instead of mashed potatoes, which actually sounds great and I will definitely have to try this soon.
Shepherd’s Pie – A Classic
But let’s talk about my recipe for a bit because the best compliment a cook gets is when the food is gone quickly and that’s what happened when we made this. It was gone within minutes. As mentioned, I used ground beef for the pie and lots of frozen veggies.
I decided to go with a mix here of peas, carrots, green beans, and corn. You can actually find this mix in the frozen food section. I then flavored this with Worcestershire sauce, a package of dry onion soup mix and beef broth.
The end result was incredibly tasty and flavorful, just make sure you don’t add too much salt as the onion soup mix already has some sodium in it.
What Ingredients Are In Shepherd’s Pie
For this nice and easy dinner, you will need:
- Olive oil (avocado, vegetable, sunflower, etc. oil will work as well)
- Ground beef
- Salt & pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Worcestershire sauce
- Onion soup mix
- Beef broth
- Frozen veggies
I used frozen veggies here, but you can use fresh or canned if you like. Just make sure to drain all the excess liquid from any canned veggies. This recipe is also great for doing a fridge/ freezer clean out! You can toss any veggies you want in here.
But wait, I can’t find any onion soup mix! That’s totally okay. Here’s a super easy version that you can make yourself:
- 3 tbsp minced onion flakes
- 2 tbsp beef bouillon powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp parsley flakes
- 1/8 tsp ground celery seeds
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
You can use your own mashed potato recipe, or you can try out mine. Not to toot my own horn, but this recipe is killer! You will need:
- Parmesan cheese
- White pepper
How To Make Shepherd’s Pie
Start out by cooking the potatoes. Depending on how big you cut the chunks, it will take about 15 minutes for them to cook until fork tender. This is perfect amount of time to cook up your meat mixture!
Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the ground beef with some salt and pepper. I used lean ground beef for this recipe, but you can leave out the oil if you are using ground beef with a higher fat content. Once the ground beef is nicely crumbled and no longer has pink pieces, you can add the onion and garlic. Let this cook down until the onion turns translucent.
Add the red pepper flakes, Worcestershire, onion soup mix, beef broth, and frozen veggies. Stir everything together well.
Drain the potatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter; I like to cut my butter into pieces to make it easier to mash everything together evenly. Add the milk, cheese, and season with salt and the white pepper until you’re happy with the taste. Mash until the potatoes are nice and smooth.
Now you can spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture right in the skillet. Smooth the potatoes with a spoon, and run a fork over the potatoes to create ridges. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
How To Serve Shepherd’s Pie
My favorite part about Shepherd’s pie is that it includes all your typical dinner items in one easy dish. You got meat, potatoes, and veggies all together living in harmony. The thing about Shepherd’s pie, though, is that it’s hard to create a stunning plating presentation. All I have to say is, embrace the mess! Top it wish some chopped parsley. That always makes a meal look fancy.
How To Freeze And Reheat Shepherd’s Pie
You can transfer this shepherd’s pie to an airtight container to store leftovers, or you can leave it right in the skillet and cover it well with foil, which will make re-heating much easier. Keep it covered with foil, and bake for about one hour at 350F, or until heated all the way through. You can remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes to crisp the potatoes up.
This shepherd’s pie will last for about 2 months stored in your freezer.
Tips For Making Shepherd’s Pie
- Shepherd’s pie is easy enough to make, but you can simplify your life even further by buying some shortcuts. If you use frozen veggies, you’re saving chopping time. Choose a bag of mixed vegetables from the freezer.
- While you can use store bought mashed potatoes, homemade is always better, so focus your efforts on this. You can boil the potatoes while you’re making the beef mixture. This way you’ll end up with creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes.
- Brown the beef in the same skillet you’ll be serving from. This will ensure maximum flavor in your pie.
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Skillet Shepherd's Pie
For Meat Mixture
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 lb ground beef lean
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1.9 oz onion soup mix I used Knorr, 55g pkg
- 1 cup beef broth low sodium
- 2 cups frozen veggies I used mix of peas, carrots, green beans and corn
For Mashed Potatoes
- 6 large potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
- 4 tbsp butter softened
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp white pepper or to taste
- 1 tbsp parsley fresh, for garnish
- Boil the potatoes: Start by first cooking the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the meat mixture.
- Prepare the meat mixture: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet, season it with the salt and pepper and cook it for abut 5 minutes or until it's no longer pink, breaking it up as you go along.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Add the pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix, beef broth and stir. Stir in the frozen veggies and cook for a couple more minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven 350 F degrees.
- Prepare the mashed potatoes: Drain the potatoes then add them to a large bowl. Add in the butter and using a potato masher, mash until smooth. Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, salt pepper and mash a bit a more until smooth.
- Finish assembling the shepherd's pie: Spread the potatoes over the meat and smooth with a spoon. Take a fork and rough up the top a bit and garnish with a bit of parsley.
- Bake: Place the skillet on a baking sheet, then place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown on top.
- Garnish with more parsley and pepper and serve warm.
- How do I store leftovers: Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking, cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Can I freeze this: Yes you can! After baking, let the skillet cool to room temperature. Transfer the shepherd's pie to an airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can also cover the skillet tightly with foil, or plastic wrap, just make sure it's tightly covered.
- Can I use store bought mashed potatoes: Yes, you can. Store bought mashed potatoes can be used or leftover mashed potatoes.
- Can I use fresh veggies: Yes, of course. I used frozen veggies to save time, but feel free to use fresh veggies, such as carrots, peas and corn.
- I don't have onion soup mix, what can I use instead: You can make your own onion soup mix by combining: 3 tbsp minced onion flakes, 2 tbsp beef bouillon powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp parsley flakes, 1/8 tsp ground celery seeds, 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.