Beef Shepherd’s Pie (A.K.A. Cottage Pie)

Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie? It’s all in the beef. And we have a Classic Beef Shepherd’s Pie recipe for you that is so good you won’t care what it’s actually called.
Classic Beef Shepherd's Pie

Ask an American and it’s shepherd’s pie. Ask across the pond and they’ll chuckle and say we don’t know what we’re talking about.

In the UK shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb. If you make the same thing with ground beef, as Americans typically do, they call it cottage pie.

Whether you call it shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, it’s good stuff. Meat and veggies in a rich gravy under a good thick layer of mashed potatoes. Don’t call it anything. Just dig in.

Classic Shepherd's Pie with Beef

Yield: 6 Servings

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the Filling

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs. ground chuck, or other medium fat ground beef
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth (low sodium)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, defrosted
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted

For the Mashed Potato Topping

  • 2 1/2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-3/4 inch dice
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup milk, heated
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions:

For the Filling

  1. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and stir. Immediately add in the ground beef, salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until meat is cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Drain excess fat.
  2. To meat, add flour and tomato paste. Stir until incorporated and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until very thick, 2-3 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs.
  4. Add defrosted corn and peas. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

For the Mashed Potato Topping

  1. Place cut potatoes in pot filled with cold water. Add salt. Turn heat to high and cover slightly. Once boiling uncover and drop heat to medium-high. Cook until you can pierce potatoes easily with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Strain potatoes and place back into the pot. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are dry, about 1-2 minutes. Take off heat.
  3. Add butter and mash. Once mashed stir in heated milk. Quickly stir potatoes and add egg yolk, moving quickly to prevent cooking. Taste and season with salt.

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In 11 x 7 pan add meat mixture and spread evenly. Top with mashed potatoes starting at the corners working around the edge. This should seal in the meat for better chance of avoiding boil-overs.
  3. Use a fork and create fast swirly motions to fluff up potatoes. Bake until potatoes are slightly browned, around 25 minutes

Christine Pittman

Christine is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Cookful. She also blogs at COOKtheSTORY where she specializes in easy healthy homemade recipes. Healthiness aside, she has been known to shred cheese onto a dinner plate, microwave it for 30 seconds, and then eat the messy goop with a spoon.