This is not sophisticated but it’s delicious and total comfort food! And it’s a great way to repurpose some leftovers. So next time you’re making mashed potatoes, be sure to add a few extra potatoes to the pot so you have an excuse to make Shepherd’s Pie.
The first time Mr. H suggested I make Shepherd’s Pie, I had to do some research because my mother didn’t make it. I wasn’t exactly sure what was in it and I found there are multiple versions. Everyone has a different opinion. I think the traditional version uses ground lamb but I prefer beef. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE lamb. But not in this. I prefer not to use corn out of season so I make it with peas and carrots and with no cheese on top.Click here to jump right to the recipe
If you have leftover beef gravy, it’s perfect in the meat mixture, otherwise you can use thickened beef broth.
I’m using frozen peas and carrots because this is supposed to be a quick, easy meal. Feel free to use fresh, but for this one I’m totally ok with taking a short cut.
Start by finely dicing a couple stalks of celery and half an onion. Sauté in a large skillet in a little olive oil. Or even better….bacon fat. My mom always had bacon fat in the fridge. So now I do.
Add a big clove of chopped garlic and the ground beef and sauté until the meat is browned. Break up the larger chunks as it cooks. Tilt the pan and scoop out most of the fat. You may have a lot or just a little, depending on how lean your ground beef is. It sounds counter productive since you’re adding gravy, but you just don’t want too much fat.
Leftover Gravy and Mashed Potatoes
If you don’t have any leftover gravy, sprinkle cornstarch over the meat mixture, stir to combine, then add beef broth and simmer until thickened. Otherwise, stir in the leftover gravy. If you’re using some gravy and some broth, use a tsp of cornstarch for every 1/4 cup of broth to make sure the meat mixture is nice and thick.
Add Chili sauce and Worcestershire. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If you don’t have Chili sauce, ketchup will work too.
Shakey shakey, wakey wakey. Remember that commercial? Worcestershire Sauce really adds a little something to the flavour! And if you want a hint of heat, add some Sriracha. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add the frozen peas and carrots. Stir to combine and make sure any frozen lumps are broken up.
Pour into a wide baking dish. You wan’t something that’s large enough that you have extra space at the top, otherwise the filling bubbles and spills in the oven. Something around 12 inches long is about right.
Mix sour cream and milk with the potatoes and stir well or use a mixer. The milk helps thin the potatoes so you can easily spread them, and the sour cream adds a little zip. Taste and season with salt if desired.
Add large spoonfuls on top of the meat mixture and spread evenly to the edges.
Bake for 40-45 minutes if you’re baking immediately or a little longer if you refrigerate it and bake it later, until the filling is bubbling and the top is lightly browned.
Let it rest a few minutes before serving.
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp bacon fat or oil
- 1 1/4 pound lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 1 1/4 cups leftover beef gravy
- 1 1/4 cups beef broth thickened with 5 tsp flour or cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp chili sauce or Ketchup
- 1 tsp Sriracha sauce optional
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups mashed potatoes
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp milk
- pinch of salt
- Finely dice celery and onion. Saute in bacon fat or oil until soft. Add ground beef and crushed garlic and cook until browned. Drain any extra fat.
- Add gravy and stir to combine.OR
- Sprinkle cornstarch or flour over meat mixture and stir to combine. Add beef broth and simmer until thickened.You can use a combination of leftover gravy and beef broth equal to 1 1/4 cups volume. Thicken the broth at 1 tsp per 1/4 cup.
- Add Worcestershire sauce and chili sauce or Ketchup. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, add Sriracha for some heat.
- Stir in frozen peas and carrots. Pour into a wide baking dish.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine mashed potatoes with sour cream and milk. Season with salt if desired. Use hand mixer for extra creamy potatoes. Spoon evenly over meat mixture.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes until filling is bubbling and top is slightly browned.Bake up to 60 minutes if dish has been refrigerated and baked later.