Shepherd's Pie is a classic recipe with fluffy mashed potatoes, gooey cheese and a secret meat filling underneath. 

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When I was growing up, we had "family night" every Sunday at 5_30pm. It was a joyous weekly event of playing with my cousins, chatting with the adults and having the occasional family brawl over topics on '60 Minutes'. Regardless, it was a time that we would all be together without fail sharing food and fun. Every woman in the family (of course none of the men in the McCord clan cooked unless it was something that could be burned on a barbeque grill) had their own special recipes and for one of my aunts, it was shepherd’s pie.


I'll be honest, I remember the first few times I walked up to the buffet line I would scrape off as much of the mashed potatoes and cheese for myself as possible, leaving the veggies and meat at the bottom for someone else to eat. I wasn't a picky kid, but I knew what I loved.


Lately, some of my girlfriends have been starting a new tradition of
Wednesday night dinner with some of the neighborhood families. Last week I decided to make shepherd’s pie to see if any of the veggies and meat would make it to the kids’ plates. I was kind of shocked. Of course Kenya ate almost every bite (I’m either blessed or cursed that this child will eat anything), but the other kids seemed to enjoy it too, peas and all.


Shepherd’s pie is such a great family dish because you can puree it up for a baby and the toddlers, big kids and adults can enjoy it in its solid form. 


Packed with protein, veggies and carbohydrates, it really is an all-in -one meal. My version of shepherd’s pie is on the healthy side. I love mashed potatoes as much as the next person, but a stick of butter and heavy cream seems a little too rich for my blood for a stay-at -home meal, so I've played with it to keep the flavor, but reduce a lot of the fat. So, now everyone in the family can enjoy weelicious recipes, be healthy and leave the table with full bellies!


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Shepherd's Pie (Makes 6-8 Servings)

Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 30 mins

egg free

nut free

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes, russet or Idaho, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef stock (or 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of warm water)
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup peas, defrosted if frozen
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt to the water, if desired. Add the potatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.

3. Mash the potatoes through a ricer, or by hand, into the pot. Add the milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter and mash until smooth. Set aside.

4. While the potatoes cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the beef with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and discard the fat in the skillet.

5. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the large bowl.

6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet, still over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the resulting roux is golden. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce and whisk to thoroughly combine.

7. Add the beef and vegetable filling to the sauce and stir to combine.

8. Transfer the filling to 6 to 8 individual ramekins or a large 2 quart casserole dish.

9. Sprinkle with the peas, then spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with the cheese. 

10 Bake 30 minutes for the large casserole or 15 minutes for individual ramekins or until top is golden and bubbly. 

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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13 comments

  • Blair

    What a coincidence. I was planning to make this for the adults tonight, and you have a kid version on the exact same day.
    When are you coming out with a book? I think you're fantastic!

    leave a comment

  • Cathy Hill

    Catherine. You are the best!! Thank you for the family night nod. I love the way you described it. In fact I just served Aunt Susan and Uncle John's Island Shepherd's pie last Sunday, and they seemed pretty happy to have it (although my version wasn't nearly as healthy as yours). Best of luck - Looks like Weelicious is a home-run. Love, Aunt Cathy

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  • Vicki

    I made this for my baby and hubby and got rave results! Substituted turkey and margarine instead of beef and butter, vegetable stock for the roux. My 18 month old gobbled it down. I had to keep him calm for 5 minutes while I cooled it from the oven in the freezer!

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  • Taren

    This recipe was awesome!! My 2 year old gobbled it up! This dish got a huge thumbs up from the whole family!

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  • Dawn

    I made this last night for my 18 month old daughter (and us too!) who won't eat meat and she actually got back a bit of the beef! She also ate the cheesy potatoes and picked out every single pea to eat one by one. We enjoyed it too. I just stumbled across your site and love it. I'll be back more often. We also try to eat as local/organic/naturally as possibly and there are some great recipes here. I am off to try the falafel recipe now.

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  • One Family. One Meal. Weelicious ™ Fast, Easy & Fresh Homemade Home Made Baby Food Babyfood Recipes, Toddler Food And Recipes For The Entire family!

    [...] with few teeth Fish in Parchment: You can make this with fish or chicken and puree for babies Shepherd’s Pie: Replace the milk with almond, rice or soy milk and pure for babies Sweet Potato, Apple & [...]

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  • James Tufano

    This is most definitely one of the better articles I have located on this subject. I would like to know if you have you looked into the other side of the subject of natural health? Personally, I think a solid case could be made either way, but please let me know if you know of more sources on the Internet that back up what you are proposing.

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  • Adina

    Made this last night, and I just realized I forgot the roux!
    My daughter was reading the recipe to me as I was preparing, and somehow missed that part, but guess what? It was still delicious! My pickiest who truly barely eats one serving, had three!
    TIP: To entice my little ones to eat the meat part as well (bc they def. prefer the mashed potatoes), I put the potatoes both on the bottom & the top with the meat in between, and they ate it all:)
    Now to see about that roux...

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    • Adina

      Just wanted to thank Catherine for her amazing vision. This website is inspiring! Was wishing for something like this for years, & was absolutely giddy to find this website. Thank you!!

      leave a comment

  • Jellyjello

    made this tonight and it was great!

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  • elfkind1980

    Can this be done with Sweet Potatoes?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes! That would be so yummy! Same directions. You might need to cook the sweet potatoes a bit longer to get them soft enough to mash!

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  • Ndohmac

    Made with sweet potatoes and so yum!

    leave a comment