Recipe Post: Shepherd’s/Cottage Pie, Two Ways

I’ve written before about one of my favourite meals to both make and eat, Shepherd’s Pie (which yes, I know is a cottage pie as it uses ground beef not lamb, but let’s not argue, kids). However, I’ve made a few changes to my tried-and-true recipe and so please see my updated recipe below.

In addition, anyone who has read my blog lately knows I’ve been experimenting with more plant-based substitutes in some of my traditional recipes, and so I’ve created a fantastic lentil shepherd’s pie as well. The recipes are very similar, but I’ve separated them out to ensure no confusion.

Neither of these are quick recipes to be whipped up in the usually short period between coming home from work and dinnertime; however, either one is a great weekend casserole (even though it’s called a pie), with lots of leftovers if you’re a smaller family. And unlike the more traditional recipe, I like to jam-pack my Shepherd’s Pies with as many veggies as I can; it’s how they were made for me when I was a little one, and I fully intend to continue the tradition.

Beef Shepherd’s Pie
(c) BirdHouse Diaries

Beef Shepherd’s/Cottage Pie

YIELD: 6 servings | PREP: 15 mins | COOK: 20 mins | BAKE: 25 mins

  • 4 large Yukon Gold (yellow flesh) potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, trimmed and diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (not canned)
  • 1 cup corn, fresh, frozen or canned
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour), diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 lb./454g lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp/10mL soy sauce
  • 2 tsp/10mL Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup/237mL water
  • 1 pkg powdered brown gravy mix (can replace with 1 tbsp/15mL cornstarch+1 cup/237mL beef broth to replace water above)
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place oven rack in middle of oven.
  2. Put large pot of well-salted water on to boil; add diced potatoes to cold water and bring to a rolling boil; cook until fork-tender. Drain, add butter and milk and mash until creamy. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat large frypan at medium heat with canola oil; add onion, carrot and celery and stir frequently until vegetables are translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and mix together; cook for another few minutes. Clear a small space in the centre of the pan and add tomato paste; cook this down for a couple of minutes, then mix into vegetables.
  4. Add ground beef and mix together, stirring frequently, adding soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and bay leaves, until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Stir brown gravy mix into cold water (or cornstarch into cold beef broth); add to meat mixture and stir to combine. When thickened, remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
  6. Spoon hot meat mixture into a medium-sized, deep casserole dish and level. Spoon mashed potatoes on top, covering meat mixture completely. Smooth and level potatoes until level or slightly lower than rim of casserole dish. If desired, use fork to place design pattern on top of potatoes. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper over top; dot with extra butter if desired.
  7. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until top is browned and bubbling. Let casserole rest for 10 minutes, then serve.
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
(c) BirdHouse Diaries

Lentil Shepherd’s/Cottage Pie

YIELD: 6 servings | PREP: 15 mins | COOK: 20 mins | BAKE: 25 mins

  • 4 large Yukon Gold (yellow flesh) potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup butter, divided
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup dried brown or green lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (I used Better Than Bouillon – Vegetable)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, trimmed and diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (not canned)
  • 1 cup corn, fresh, frozen or canned
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour), diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp/10mL soy sauce
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup/237mL water
  • 1 tbsp/15mL cornstarch
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place oven rack in middle of oven.
  2. Put large pot of well-salted water on to boil; add diced potatoes to cold water and bring to a rolling boil; cook until fork-tender. Drain, add butter and milk and mash until creamy. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, combine lentils and vegetable broth in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil on high; lower to simmer, place lid on pot and allow to cook on low for 20-25 minutes, or until just softened.
  4. Meanwhile, heat large frypan at medium heat with canola oil; add onion, carrot and celery and stir frequently until vegetables are translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and mix together; cook for another few minutes. Clear a small space in the centre of the pan and add tomato paste; cook this down for a couple of minutes, then mix into vegetables.
  5. Add drained cooked lentils, reserving 1 cup of the stock cooking liquid, and mix together, stirring frequently, adding soy sauce, pepper and bay leaves, until well-combined.
  6. Stir cornstarch into cooled reserved vegetable stock from the lentils; add to vegetable mixture and stir to combine. When thickened, remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
  7. Spoon hot mixture into a medium-sized, deep casserole dish and level. Spoon mashed potatoes on top, covering mixture completely. Smooth and level potatoes until level or slightly lower than rim of casserole dish. If desired, use fork to place design pattern on top of potatoes. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper over top; dot with extra butter if desired.
  8. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until top is browned and bubbling. Let casserole rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

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