Make the ultimate comfort food for your family: Homemade Shepherd's Pie (or Cottage Pie) with ground beef - simple, yummy and easy to make. See notes if you want to make this with lamb for a fully authentic version!
⅓cupred wineOR more broth if avoiding alcohol
1tablespoonfinely chopped parsley
½teaspoonfinely chopped thyme
1teaspoonfinely chopped rosemary
4cupsmashed potatoes(click for my recipe and you'll have some leftovers to sneak during cooking)
½cupshredded cheddar cheese
Brown meat and vegetables:Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large, deep skillet. Brown the ground meat, then add the chopped vegetables and sauté until softened.
Season and deglaze the pan:Sprinkle salt, paprika, pepper and flour over the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring all the time, until it smells roasted (about 1 minute). Pour in the red wine (OR beef broth if you prefer!), scratching any browned bits off the bottom.
Finish filling and cool:Then stir in broth, herbs and peas, simmer 4-5 minutes and then let cool in a 7x11 inch baking dish.
Prep mash:In the meantime, make your favorite mashed potatoes. You need about 4 cups of mash to top off the casserole. About 1.5 pounds of peeled potatoes should yield enough.
Bake pie:Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread the mashed potatoes over the cold filling. (Be careful not to mix up the two.) Criss-cross with a fork for a great look and crispy edges! Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until golden (I recommend baking on a lined baking sheet to catch any spills).
Beef or lamb?
Feel free to use ground lamb in place of the beef for a more authentic version! Lamb tends to be more fatty, so drain it after browning if you prefer less fat.
Make ahead instructions
Assemble the entire pie as directed in the recipe, right up to the finally baking step.Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, then bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden.
Prepare as directed in the recipe, right up to the final baking step. Wrap well with foil and then aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 2 months.To reheat: No need to defrost! Remove both foils, then replace the aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F with the foil on for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until browned.
Make sure to brown the meat and vegetables well for the most intense flavors
Don't skip cooling the filling. A cool filling is much easier to top with mashed potatoes without mixing the layers.
Mashed potatoes: I usually make my Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes for this, but my regular mashed potatoes are delicious, too. I've also had readers made this with ready-made mashed potatoes, so that's a great shortcut.Tomato paste: Can also use ketchup instead if you don't have tomato paste.Gluten free: For a gluten-free friendly version, use cornstarch in place of the flour. Be sure to check all of your ingredients to make sure they're gluten free (especially the beef broth! you can use water if you don't have any).If you don’t like peas, it’s also delicious with chopped green beans.I hear people make this low carb by using mashed cauliflower they whisk together with 1 egg yolk in place of the mashed potatoes. I love my potatoes, but your call ;-)You can also make this vegetarian by using 2 cups of cooked, brown lentils in place of the ground beef and vegetable broth in place of the beef broth.