Our winter has been, in a word, unpredictable. December was a flurry of snow, sub-zero temperatures and cold, cold nights while January held unseasonable highs, tons of rain and grey, long days. So cozy, hearty and delicious tasting and smelling meals have been a need in our house to warm us up and perk up our spirits while winter marches on.
Shepherd’s Pie fits this bill and more, with layers of hearty good flavor served up like the best crustless meaty pie. What I love is that this recipe is very forgiving and can use what you have on hand. Have green beans instead of corn? Throw it in! Ground turkey instead of the beef? Go ahead! This also makes a great meal the next day or can be frozen for a later meal when cozy is needed but hurry up is too.
Cozy Shepherd’s Pie
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes | Serves: 4-6
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped (about 2-3 whole carrots)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup corn
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, divided (more or less to taste)
- 2-3 cups cooked mashed potatoes, warmed
- salt, to taste
- pepper to taste
- dried or fresh parsley, to taste
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Swirl butter around pan to evenly coat
- Once butter is melted, add the chopped carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add onion, salt and pepper to taste and allow onion and carrots to cook for 5 minutes more, or until carrots are softer and onion is soft
- While carrots and onion mixture is cooking, prepare or warm mashed potatoes and set aside and keep warm
- Push carrots and onion to edge of pan and make a well in the center of the pan. Add ground beef to well and season with salt and pepper
- Allow to cook for 1 minute, then mix onion, carrot and beef together, ensuring that you break up the ground beef using a wooden spoon and cook beef for 5-10 minutes or until no longer pink. If necessary, drain any excess fat from the pan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- While beef is cooking, place butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat
- Once butter is melted, slowly add flour, stirring frequently until the large lumps are smoothed out
- Slowly add beef broth to butter mixture, ensuring you are whisking or mixing while adding the broth. Ensure that you have all lumps out and the mixture has thickened a bit before adding more
- Once all broth has been mixed in, add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and mix until blended
- Simmer low until mixture is slightly thickened and remove from heat once desired thickness is reached
- Add corn to ground beef mixture and stir well to combine. If desired, season with salt and pepper to taste
- Once mixture is well blended, add beef broth gravy to ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat
- Generously grease a pie pan or baking dish and add beef mixture to pan. Top with cooked mashed potatoes and top with dried parsley
- Bake, uncovered for 12-15 minutes or beef mixture is bubbly in the pan
- Tuck into the best, full meal in one you can find!
- If you are not a corn fan, I have used canned or frozen green beans with tasty results. Many recipes call for peas, so if you like peas use those. I do recommend that if you use fresh veggies, you add these to cook in step 2 with the carrots. This is also quite tasty but canned or frozen veggies work fine and what I regularly use for this dish.
- It is my preference to make the mashed potatoes ahead of time because you do use multiple pans to make this dish. I will usually make the potatoes about a half hour before I intend to start dinner, but they can be made up to a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator. A little butter, milk and a few minutes of warming will perk them right back up and make them pie ready.