Savory Shepherd's Pie

Savory Shepherd’s Pie

For a thousand reasons, Shepherd’s Pie was never appealing to me.   And as I’ve discovered, it isn’t terribly appealing to a whole lot of other people either.   And to those folks I say:  give it a try, you might be surprised.  Really deliciously surprised.

I didn’t grow up eating shepherd’s pie, I rarely cook with beef, and generally don’t eat white potatoes.  BUT … shepherd’s pie is easy to make, it is a whole meal in one dish and it reheats beautifully for days.  So in the interest of practicality, I modified this traditional dish into something I would eat and could add some variety to my otherwise pasta and chicken-dominated weekly menus.  I’ve added some savory seasonings to the meat mixture that is the bottom half of the casserole.  And you may recognize the mashed potatoes on the top from an earlier Happy and Yummy post Grandma’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

My nephew Sam has never liked the dish …. until he tried mine a few months ago.  His mom Susan made a Shepherd’s Pie from another recipe earlier this week and one bite was all the lad would eat.   So this week’s Happy and Yummy installment is for Sam, the biggest fan of my Shepherd’s Pie: may you, and those who cook for you, never be without this recipe.

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Savory Shepherd’s Pie

Savory Shepherd’s Pie


  • 2 lbs small red potatoes, washed and cut into 1" chunks
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 shakes of cayenne pepper
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 lb extra lean beef (93/7)
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • smoked paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • 2 T flour
  • 4 c mixed vegetables (I use frozen - a 1 lb. bag of corn, peas & carrots plus a 12 oz bag of edamame or baby lima beans - ends up being slightly more than 4 c)
  • 1 can (10.5 oz.) beef broth
  • 3 T ketchup


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees, grease a deep 9x13 pan.
  2. Cover potatoes and garlic with water in large saucepan; bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Drain, return to pot or stainless steel bowl; add ingredients from sour cream - butter and mash.
  4. Try not to eat all of the mashed potatoes before you get the pie assembled and in the oven.
  5. If using frozen vegetables, cook only until thawed (they will get cooked the rest of the way with the meat in the next step). Drain and set aside.
  6. Brown meat in skillet. When just cooked, sprinkle meat with a coating of garlic powder (1 Tbsp or more to taste), two generous shakes of smoked paprika and a shake (or two) of cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine spices with meat.
  7. Stir in flour, cook one minute. Add vegetables, broth and ketchup. Cook 5-10 minutes until well blended.
  8. Put meat mixture in pan, top with mashed potatoes. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly around edges.
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Note: I turn the burners on for the potatoes, beef and vegetables all at the same time.  You can get the beef and vegetable done and in the baking dish before the potatoes are ready to be mashed.  While it bakes, you can wash the pots and pans so when the casserole comes out of the oven the kitchen is already cleaned up.  It reheats beautifully for a couple of days.


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4 Responses to Savory Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Susan Williams November 30, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    My son is a very picky eater. I’ve tried many recipes for Shepard’s Pie. He loves this recipe, and I feel great that he’s getting good nutrients !! Thank you Happy and Yummy!!!!

    • Melissa Heller December 2, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      You are so welcome Susan! I’m so glad he is finally enjoying his Shepherd’s Pie, and yes he is getting some good nutrition in there. Come back and visit us again soon!

  2. Mary M. Martinez March 26, 2016 at 4:47 am #

    MMM! This sounds so delicious and healthy too!

  3. Mary M. Martinez March 26, 2016 at 4:48 am #

    Wow how interesting! Thanks for sharing