Not Your Traditional Shepherd's Pie

August 27, 2009Katie


Okay, I admit it.

I’m a sucker for anything with pie crust.

So a traditional shepherd’s pie with a crust of mashed potatoes seems sometimes, well….unfulfilling.

I have no idea how I started making this pie.  I may have had something similar at a diner years ago and tried to replicate it.  I honestly can’t remember.

I do know though that my family loves this.  It’s one of those dinners I make that the kids and Mr. Wonderful get excited to see coming out of the oven.

And lately, not too many things have been coming out of the oven.  I’ve been, shall we say, a little remiss in the cooking department of late?  With good reason though, I might add.

This is my busiest month of the year for work, and well, let’s just say Mr. Wonderful has been picking up a lot of slack this month.  Which is why he IS Mr. Wonderful.

And I love him!

So to start, take one and one-half pounds of hamburger meat. Put it in a good size stock pot or pan and turn on medium-high heat.


Do you have one of these wonders?


My mom got me this and I’m not sure what the official name is of this gadget, but I do know it breaks up ground burger meat spectacularly!  Stir your meat around for about 5 minutes and begin to brown it.

While that’s working, peel and cube up about 4 cups of red potatoes.  I had rather large ones so it took about 4, but adjust according to your potato size.


I decided to put a black bean next to the potatoes so you could see how small to cube them.  You want them pretty darn small.



Also cut up one yellow onion into a fine dice.


Toss it into the pan with the potatoes.


Continue to cook the meat, onions and potatoes for about 10 minutes, stirring often.


By often, I mean every couple of minutes. NOT until you smell smoke.

After 10 -15 minutes, your potatoes should be pretty soft.  While they’re cooking, cut up 3-4 cloves of garlic.


Add them to your pot and give it all a stir.


Pretty soon, your doorbell will start ringing. It’s the neighbors wanting to know what smells so doggone good!

While your garlic is smelling up the place, take out a pie plate and press one pie crust into it.


Can we just be honest here?

I’ve worked some long hours and that pie crust that you just unroll is pretty darn fabulous.  I’m sure the foodie snobs would crucify me for this…but hey, it’s the real world and that’s the way I roll in the real world.

Spoon your pie filling over top of your bottom pie crust.


Now this looks pretty yummy in itself.  However, there is more yum factor that awaits us.

It’s called gravy.

Remember your pot you just scraped out?  Return it to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Also add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix it up good.

This mixture is called a roux.  See the brown stuff that came off the bottom of the pan? That is called flavor.

Add 2 cups of beef broth- but slowly!  Add 1/4 cup, stir, and then add 1/4 cup more.  Switch to a whisk at this point.


After you get both cups into the roux, pull out your secret ingredient.

Kitchen Bouquet.


The secret to fabulous rich dark gravy.  Add one tablespoon and whisk it in.


Kitchen Bouquet adds rich dark color to your gravy and also flavors of spices and vegetables.



Add a little pepper and salt and mix it into your gravy, then pour it over top of your filled pie.


It should seep down through the filling. Give it a minute then pour the rest over top.

Top with your second pie crust.  Pinch the edges shut and flute with a fork.


Take a small, sharp knife and cut some vent slits in the top for steam to escape.


Take an egg and crack it into a small bowl.


Grab a fork and stir it up.


Take a pastry brush and brush it over top of your pie crust. This will create a golden shiny gorgeous crust!


Put it into a 375º oven until the top is golden brown and luscious – about 20-40 minutes.


Cut it into wedges and make your family a happy family.


Try to get a few crumbs all over everywhere like we did.  It’s the sign of a flaky, yummy pie crust.

Didn’t I tell you pie crust is heavenly?

If you want a comfort food, meat-and-potatoes meal for your family tonight, this is the meal to make.  You can add peas or carrots or corn if you like, but tonight I felt like a purist and kept it basic.

Katie’s Printable Recipe – Untraditional Shepherd’s Pie

Cooking with Love,



  • Janey

    August 28, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Chuck will love this one! I make chicken pot pie all the time and he always asks, why don't you ever do a "meat" one (he doesn't think chicken qualifies as meat!)
  • Fran J

    August 28, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Sheppard pie was a big favorite of mine when in grade school. Course, it was made with mashed potatoes on the top and beef and veggies inside.

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