I don’t know what your family considers comfort food but when my family thinks of winter comfort food, this Shepherd’s Pie recipe is at the top of the list. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal that does not leave much room for dessert. My mom made her Shepherd’s Pie with Campbell Tomato soup as a base and topped it with refrigerated biscuit dough instead of potatoes and I still remember it with great affection.
But then I grew up and moved to England for a few years and got a taste of the real thing. Over there, Shepherd’s Pie (also called Cottage Pie) is served in just about any pub and a whole lot of restaurants. There are a crazy amount of variations on Shepherd’s Pie, many of which call for lamb rather than beef but it always involves some version of ground or minced red meat and veggies cradled in rich brown gravy and topped with mashed potatoes and cheese.
Speaking of mashed potatoes, there are a lot of ways to make mashed potatoes that have been passed down through the generations and I don’t dare mess with your grandma’s kitchen wisdom but I have found that regardless of how you make yours, adding in a couple of cloves of fresh minced garlic at the end really elevates them so I highly suggest that for this recipe. Even if you buy prepared mashed potatoes for this–and you could save a lot of prep time that way–go ahead and stir in a few cloves of minced garlic before topping the pie.
On the gravy side of things, I don’t actually make gravy from scratch for this recipe although you certainly could if that’s your thing. I have been using Orrington Farms Brown Gravy mix for years for my Shepherd’s Pie and have been happy with the results.
Note: I always double this recipe and freeze smaller portions in oven proof dishes for later, either for ourselves or for someone else. Shepherd’s Pie is the best kind of deeply satisfying casserole to deliver to someone who is going through tough times. Nothing says love like meat and potatoes! So make this Shepherd’s Pie recipe for yourself and deliver a portion to a friend. Then share your story of how it brought comfort to someone’s day in the comments below.
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables cooked and drained
- 1 lb. ground hamburger or lamb
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups brown gravy, prepared (I use Orrington Farms)
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups mashed potatoes
- 3/4 cup medium or sharp cheddar cheese grated
- Cook and drain vegetables according to package directions and set aside.
- Brown ground beef or lamb in large skillet along with chopped onion. When the meat is nearly browned, add in minced garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Add cooked vegetables, prepared brown gravy and Worcestershire sauce into pan and bring to low simmer for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour mixture into a deep 11 x 7 casserole dish and gently spread mashed potatoes on top of mixture, using a spatula..
- Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until sauce is bubbling.
- Remove from oven and enjoy!