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Fluffy, Filling, Fantastic Shepherd’s Pie

Is it just me or does it seem like fall is starting when it’s supposed to this year?!

Here in North Carolina, fall typically doesn’t start until October/November. Which is really disappointing because I pull out my fall wardrobe on the first day of fall, regardless if it’s 95 degrees out.

But this year, Mother Nature is on my side! Woo! We have had temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s this week! Let me just tell you, I am here for it! I have been in cozy sweaters, lighting candles, and reveling in all the cozy comforts of fall!

I’m pretty excited to bring this dish to life this year! Shepherd’s Pie, also known as Shepard’s Pie or Cottage Pie (how cute is that?!) is a meaty, veggie-tastic, comforting dish that’s literally topped with mashed potatoes! Like what?! I would put mashed potatoes on anything!! I haven’t really made Shepherd’s Pie before this year, and honestly, I feel like I’ve missed out on so many delicious opportunities that I will never be able to get back… Which is why I plan on eating this every other weekend to make up for it!

The first time I had Shepherd’s Pie was at a Christmas festival, where my local Irish restaurant was catering! I thought I was just grabbing a sample of mashed potatoes, but one scoop of my spoon revealed that I was getting something far greater than mashed potatoes, a feat that I didn’t think possible!

What’s so amazing about this dish is the meat layer/filling/casserole. I’m not quite sure what the meat part would be called, so we’ll just call it the meat layer. The meat layer is full of yummy, hearty vegetables that really just bring this dish to life. There’s onions, carrots, celery, peas, and obviously garlic! Adding the tomato paste really just pulls the dish together in such a tangy, bright way that feels very familiar even if you haven’t had Shepherd’s Pie. It kind of reminded me of a Sloppy Joe’s mixture, which I remember eating all the time as a kid!

This is the typical way that I make mashed potatoes, with butter, sour cream, and milk! However, if you like to make yours with cream cheese, or omitting any ingredients, that’s perfectly fine as well! You just want the mashed potato layer to be fluffy, delicious, and easy to spread! You might have to add a little bit more milk than you typically do, but they do bake in the oven, so it’ll help absorb the moisture!


3 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes

6 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup of sour cream

1/3 cup of milk

1/4 cup of parmesan

1 pound of ground beef

1 small yellow onion

3 large carrots, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

3 cloves of garlic

1 heaping tablespoon of Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon of rosemary

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of flour

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 cup of beef broth

1 bag of frozen peas

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by boiling three pounds of potatoes. I like to peel my potatoes, but you don’t have to! I also cut mine into quarters. While the larger ones take longer to cook, they also absorb less water, which yields a thicker mashed potato, my favorite kind!

Once the potatoes are done, meaning you can easily stick a fork into them, begin to mash. I like to make sure these are pretty smooth and spreadable since they are going on top of a filling. Then, add in butter, sour cream, and milk. Add a little bit of milk at a time. Depending on your potatoes, you may not need as much milk, you might need more! Add a little bit at a time until you get the desired consistency. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Now, for the filling. Saute the onion and carrot in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for about 2-3 minutes before adding the celery. Add in the meat and cook all the way through. Drain off any excess grease. Add in the garlic, rosemary, Italian seasoning, and the Worcestershire sauce. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes so the flavors can get absorbed into the meat mixture. Then add the flour and tomato paste. Cook for one minute, before adding in the broth. Add the frozen peas and simmer for about 5 minutes. It’s okay if there’s some liquid in the pan because it’ll evaporate out when the dish goes into the oven.

Pour the meat mixture into an oven-safe dish. Plop the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Gently spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture. Top mashed potatoes with parmesan cheese, and place in a 350-degree preheated oven for 30 minutes.

The pie will be done when the mashed potatoes are browned on the top and the meat mixture is bubbly!

I like to wait about 15 minutes for the food to cool down before serving up a large, heaping portion!

Potatoes, butter, and sour cream… what a beautiful start to the meal!
Kind of looks like the start of a soup, right? But it’s turning into something much better!!
Add to a casserole dish!
Cover with mashed potatoes!
Sprinkle a little parm to add to the charm! (See what I did there?! It rhymes!)

This meal is so yummy and filling! This year is the first year that I’ve really started getting into Shepherd’s Pie, but I am obsessed with this meal! It’s filling, and warm, and cozy, and hearty! All the delicious feelings you expect from a fall meal!

-Holly Michelle

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