“Shepherd me, O Pie…” Sing it with me?
I’m not much for corned beef and wilted cabbage in a heap on a plate, but bring on St. Patty’s Day so I have an excuse to make my Shepherd’s Pie recipe!
I’d make this dish any time of year, to be honest, but when red potatoes go on sale in honor of the Irish this month, it always reminds me of one of my family’s never-fail meals, which I tweaked using a Kraft Food & Family recipe and one from Rachel Ray. Put them together, stir, and you get a load of vegetable goodness, some nourishing chicken stock, and the creamiest most flavorful smashed potatoes I’ve ever met.
- 2½ lbs. red potatoes, chunked
- 3 cloves crushed garlic (or ½ tsp. garlic powder), divided
- 4-6 slices bacon, optional but yummy
- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- (note: a great chance to sneak in liver or heart…)
- 1½ tsp. paprika
- 1½ tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. ground thyme
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2-4 carrots, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- 1-2 c. chopped broccoli, including stems
- 1 c. frozen peas
- 4 Tbs. flour (or arrowroot starch)
- 1 c. chicken or beef stock or broth
- 1 c. plain yogurt, divided
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbs. butter
- ¼ c. cottage cheese
- ½-1 tsp. Real Salt, to taste (or other unrefined sea salt)
- ½ c.+ shredded cheddar cheese, divided (sharp is best)
- Boil potatoes with a clove or two of crushed garlic and some sea salt and cook on medium-low until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, get busy in another medium-large pot.
- Cook the bacon, drain grease, chop bacon and set aside.
- In the same pot, brown the ground meat.
- Drain grease if necessary. (If you're low on time, you could have the bacon going in a frying pan next to the big pot to speed things up. Or better yet, maybe you are smart and have some already cooked bacon in your freezer!)
- Season meat with paprika, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery.
- Cook about 5 minutes to soften veggies, then add red pepper, broccoli, peas, and remaining crushed garlic.
- Cook 2 minutes.
- Put the bacon back in.
- Stir in flour (or starch), and cook and stir 2 minutes (to get rid of the flour taste).
- Add broth and ½ c. yogurt and bring to a low simmer.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- When the potatoes are tender, stir a ladle of the cooking water into one beaten egg in a small bowl.
- Drain the potatoes. You can leave them in the pot a few minutes to dry out a bit if you’re still working on all those veggies in the other pot!
- Smash the potatoes with butter, ½ c. yogurt (or sour cream), salt, pepper, and cottage cheese plus ¼ c. of the shredded cheddar.
- Add the egg mixture and stir well.
- Pour the meat mixture into an oval or 9×13 casserole dish (usually both, this recipe tends to grow like the loaves and fishes!).
- Top with potatoes and sprinkle the remaining ¼ c. cheddar cheese on top.
- You’ll likely need extra if you divided the meal into two pans.
- Bake 20 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted.
To reheat a frozen casserole, thaw completely and bake at 350F 30-40 minutes until bubbly. You may want to leave the shredded cheese off before you freeze, then add it the last 10 minutes of baking. It's helpful to cover the casserole with an inverted cookie sheet for the first 20-30 minutes so you don't burn the potatoes.
Everyone who’s ever tasted my Shepherd’s Pie loves it, except my poor friend who made a huge batch of it with me for freezer cooking day. Her family was not a fan, so I got the second meal’s worth when Leah was born! They must have something against cumin. And potatoes.
Bring on the veggies.
I’m always amazed at how many vegetables I can cram into a casserole dish. The balance of colors is beautiful, and that also means you’re getting a nice blend of nutrients.
The seasonings are out of this world, and the creamy, cheesy smashed potatoes may not be your friend if you want low-carb, but your palate will thank you for indulging! I always secretly hope I overdid the potatoes so that there’s extra that won’t fit on the casserole and I have to eat them for lunch the next day. (Yes, I lick the spoon and potato masher with abandon.)
The recipe is so huge that I always fill more than one 9×13 pan, which means an 8×8 or oval casserole dish goes into the freezer for an easy meal later.
But the best thing about this meal? It comes with a song. My husband and I always bust out with a rendition of “Shepherd me O Pie, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into liiiiiiiiife!” If you’re Catholic, you’ve probably heard the original at church before. Go on, just try making this meal without getting that one in your head! I dare ya.
Are you ready for Lent? I actually decorate for Lent to make the whole house get into the season. Don’t forget to look up Mass times for tomorrow and get your ashes and dose of humility (You are dust!).
Check it out! I’m the guest lecturer (or “star of the show,” whichever you prefer) at GNOWFGLINS eCourse today with my ultimate favorite real food technique: making homemade yogurt. If you’ve been scared to try it in the past, just watch and see how totally easy it is. You can do this! I’m also getting in on the conference call this month (week of March 21st), so if you want the opportunity to ask me anything about anything (yikes) in person, you can consider the premium membership for that opportunity!
Disclosure: The mention of Real Salt is part of a paid advertising campaign…but you know what? It’s what I really use in my kitchen anyway. You can use whatever salt floats your boat, but unrefined sea salt is the healthiest. I work with GNOWFGLINS and do receive a portion of payments from my readers. See my full disclosure statement here.