Shepherd's Pie (it seems that many of us don't know how to spell shepherd and the #1 Googled spelling is Shepard's pie? Go figure.) is a classic comfort food recipe. Like Tater Tot Hotdish, and Swedish Meatballs, has it's beginnings in leftovers. Humble beginnings are the trademark of all great comfort foods. This easy shepherd's pie with beef is a great one.
What is the difference between cottage pie and shepherd's pie?
Traditional Shepherd's Pie is made with ground lamb. Most of us make, in fact, Cottage Pie because we use ground beef in our recipe. I'm okay with the swap out of meats. Ground beef is more my thing, anyways. Any easy shepherd's pie ground beef dinner recipe is a winner in my busy home, frankly. (P.S. Have you tried my Ground Beef Wellington's? To die for!) So this dish is more of a cheesy cottage pie, but that's okay.
In its originality this dish was created with leftover potatoes, veggies, meat, and fat drippings from the evening's meal. The ingredients were layered up with a bit more spice or fresh herbs on top to pretend it's not last night's supper, and put it into the fire to get hot and bubbling. Lunch is served!
In my family, Shepherd's Pie is made with ingredients intentionally for the pie. This comfort food is preferred over traditional meat and potatoes any day!
This recipe is an easier, faster, and less intimidating version of Shepherd's Pie that anyone can tackle. I use pre-made ingredients that simply need assembling and baking... easy! Use your favorite gravy, potatoes, and veggies. Heck, even go for ground lamb to make it authentic!
easy Shepherd's Pie ideas:
- try sweet potatoes or cauliflower in place of traditional potatoes
- make your own mashed potatoes
- green beans & corn are kid-faves for this recipe
- add in chopped onion and garlic when sauteing the meat
- use homemade or good quality gravy.
- try provolone or gouda cheese, or another cheese that melts well
- add a crunchy topping like French Fried onions, crushed chips or crackers, or slivered almonds
Make ahead & Storing:
- This recipe is easily made ahead, covered with plastic or aluminum, and kept in the fridge until ready to be baked for a full day, easily. Just add about 10-15 minutes of baking time (you will be starting with a completely cold dish!)
- Store the leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for up to two months.
- The leftovers re-heat beautifully! They are, after all, left overs :).
P.S. Don't be surprised to see ketchup on the table with this meal. It seems to be a common thing.
What type of potatoes are best for shepherd's pie?
The general consensus is that russet potatoes are the best potatoes for shepherd's pie. Basically, you just want a potato that's good for mashing. Honestly, you can use cauliflower if you want (which sounds delicious!), it's just based on preference.
What can I serve with shepherd's pie?
We serve salad or fresh bread when we make shepherd's pie. Of course, you can also make vegetables like asparagus or broccoli. We try to stay away from things like peas or corn as a side as those are already in the pie. Of course, serve whatever you'd most like to eat. There is no correct answer. (Although, we think it'd be fun to have pie for dessert. Then it's a complete pie meal!)
Cheesy Shepards Pie
- 1 lb ground meat (turkey, beef, etc)
- 16 oz frozen veggies
- 1 jar beef gravy
- 24 oz potatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- green onions for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Brown meat. Add veggies for a few minutes. Stir in beef gravy.
- Spray a 9 inch pan with cooking spray. Add the cooked meat.
- Mix the garlic and potatoes with 1/2 the cheddar cheese. Spoon over meat.
- Top with the last of the cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Top with green onions and serve.