Easy Shepherd's Pie (Beef And/or Lamb Combo)


For the potato topping:
2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons cream cheese (or sour cream)
1/2 cup 1%% milk (or heavy cream for richer flavor)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the filling:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb*
NOTE: The combo of ground lamb and beef is how we love this casserole
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme (fresh or dried)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
For the gravy:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
NOTE: I recommend doubling the gravy
1/2 cup to 1 frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish


Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl.
Combine cream cheese (or sour cream), egg yolk and milk (or heavy cream). Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef and/or lamb.
Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings.
Add chopped carrot* and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
NOTE:*by finely chopping the carrots, they will cook a little faster.
Add the thyme.
OPTIONAL Add the tomato paste, which gives the meat filling a richer flavor.
In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.
Preheat broiler to high.
Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly.
Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve




I have been making this recipe for several years, and we love it! I made a few adjustments to Rachael Ray's recipe, which I think are great improvements-- adding tomato paste and thyme, for extra flavor. I work full-time, but I can have this dish on the table in well under an hour-- no, it's not a 30-minute meal, and I am pretty fast in the kitchen. It tastes delicious the next day. I highly recommend this version of Shepherd's Pie.




Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 12:28pm

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