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Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

Although this recipe says it’s for Shepherd’s Pie, you could say it’s for Cottage Pie.  The difference between the two is that shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, while a Cottage Pie is made with beef. The thing is, if I called it a cottage pie, you’d never find this recipe.

Make this basic Shepherd’s Pie recipe once and then start switching up the ingredients.  Try switching beer for wine (or neither), mushrooms for celery, or rosemary for thyme. I’ve been known to add sliced Brussels sprouts to this Shepherd’s Pie recipe to clean out the veggie drawer. In fact, this is a great recipe to use up whatever you have in the fridge. If you’re wondering about a cheesy topping, a traditional shepherd’s or cottage pie doesn’t have cheese melted on the mashed potato, but go ahead anyway.  Cheese + potatoes + beef = a tasty combo.

You can save time making this Shepherd’s Pie recipe by prepping all the ingredients first and then cooking the meat while the potatoes are boiling. To cut down on your red meat consumption, cut the ground beef with brown lentils (see tip below).

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie


Mashed Potatoes
3 large russet potatoes (baking potatoes), peeled and chopped
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (454 grams) extra lean ground beef
2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups no-salt beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup frozen corn or peas


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring potatoes and enough water to cover by 1-inch to a boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes in a colander and transfer back to the large pot. Mash with milk, butter, and salt until smooth. Cover and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add oil, ground beef, onions, carrots, celery, and thyme. Stirring often to break up the meat, cook until the onions have softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato paste and flour, then beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to med-low, cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has reduced, about 20 minutes. Stir in frozen corn.
  5. Pour meat mixture into a baking dish. Cover with scoops of mashed potato and spread until smooth, and drag a fork along the top to make ridges. Bake for 30 minutes on a baking sheet (incase it bubbles over). If you want to brown the top, turn on your broiler and broil until golden, about 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie Tips

  • You can substitute ketchup for tomato paste, just reduce the salt in the recipe.
  • To save money and meat, reduce ground beef to ½ a pound and add 1 can brown lentils (drained) with the corn.
  • Swap a potato for a sweet potato.  You’ll get a fluffy slightly sweet topping.
  • If you don’t have a casserole or baking dish, you can make this is a deep pan or pot. Just make sure what ever you use is oven safe.
  • If you want to add wine or beer, do so after the onions have softened.  Add the wine and cook until it has reduced, about 2 minutes.  Then continue the recipe by stirring in the tomato paste and so on.

Shepherd's Pie


  1. Where can I get your colorful aprons?

  2. I made this recipe last night and both my wife and I thought it is going to make our keepers list. We did reduce some of the salt in the potatoes but that is more personal taste than anything.

  3. I belong the to 70+ years club and I am very much in agreement with the two comments above. I did so enjoy the TV show. I still get to pick it up when I am winter travelling in the States. I also am always learning something new … for that Kary I say many thanks and I look forward to many more lessons learned …. have a great day.

  4. Hi. I, too, am a senior, and had to smile when I read Marion’s comment above, because I have been thinking the same thing about Kary, her tips and recipes. I loved your tv show (which I miss, BTW) and now look forward to. your FB postings. Thanks so much for all your practical advice and delicious recipes.

  5. Marion, I bet I could learn a lot from you too! xxoo kary

  6. I’m a 71 year old woman who has been cooking since the age of 15. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned about food and cooking from this very gifted young lady. Thank you.