Thursday, March 17, 2016

Shepherd's Pie

Yesterday, because it was St. Patrick's Day, we watched Darby O'Gill & The Little People and I made shepherd's pie. (Maybe we should call ours "ranchers pie" since I used beef instead of lamb.) I know this isn't an authentic version, but it made us feel like we were doing something to celebrate. I made earlier in the day so that I could pop it in the oven when I walked in the door at 6:00 after my knitting group.

When I was in college, one of my favorite dining hall meals was shepherds pie. It didn't occur to me until years later that the kitchen staff was most likely using up leftovers. But regardless, it was delicious.

I also like this "healthified" recipe. Lots more veggies in this one than the old school recipe. The diced mushrooms make up a sizable portion of the veggies. When I browned the diced mushrooms, they look amazingly like browned ground beef. Mix them together and the meat doesn't look skimpy.

Since I'm cooking for two, I divided this recipe into two 1-1/2 qt baking dishes. One went into the freezer (yes, with the potatoes on top) for later. I bought fresh herbs this time. Next time I'll likely use dried herbs unless I have fresh herbs in the garden.

The general rule of substitution is to use a third of the amount of dried as you would fresh herbs. The dried herbs are concentrated. So if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, you would use 1 teaspoon dried herbs, since 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon. In this recipe, use 1/3 teaspoon of dried thyme and rosemary in place of the fresh.

 Or, you could skip the herbs and keep it simple.


Potato Topping:
1-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & diced
3/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
salt and pepper
paprika (sprinkled just before you bake)

Boil potatoes in a medium pot of salted water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, sour cream, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Set aside.

1 lb 95% lean ground beef (mine was 93% lean)
1 teaspoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, diced
10 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, green beans, baby lima beans)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup fat-free beef broth
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
 kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large saute pan brown meat over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When cooked, set aside on a plate. Add the oil, onion, garlic, mushrooms and celery to the pan and sauté on medium heat about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the flour, frozen vegetables, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, ground beef and mix well. Simmer on low about 8-10 minutes.

Spread the meat on the bottom of casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 to 25 minutes*, then place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving.

 Serves 6

 *If you make this earlier in the day and refrigerate it until suppertime, take the dish out of the refrigerator when you start preheating the oven and increase the baking time about 5 minutes or so. Just be sure to bake until the center is hot.

This is another Skinnytaste recipe. She says for 1/6 of this recipe, it's 6 Smart Points—if you follow her recipe exactly. (I made some minor adjustments because I couldn't find the exact ingredients.)


  1. How fun to read this! I love shepherd's pie and it's GN's choice for Christmas Eve dinner because if the shepherd part). And thanks for the reminder about the ratio of dried to fresh herbs! Just yeaterday I had to atop and think about that one!

    1. Well, I never thought about this as a Christmas dish, but that makes perfect sense! Glad to be of help with the dried-to-fresh ratio. I find that many people do not know that 1 tbsp = 3 tsp.

  2. It's a favourite of ours too, I must admit I also hide a load of veggies in my pie too. Great idea to sprinkle paprika on top of the potato!
    Wren x

    1. Hi, Wren. How much fun to have a visitor from far away! And how much fun to learn much the same we all are.

  3. I haven't made shepherd's pie in such a long time! But I also make it with beef and lots of veggies.

    1. I am really happy to know there is another dish ready and waiting in the freezer.


I love it when you say hello here! Next best thing to stopping by for a visit.