This incredibly hearty, restaurant worthy, comforting shepherd's pie recipe does not disappoint! A flavorful beef, veggie and gravy filling is made in a cast iron pan and layered with fluffy, perfectly creamy mashed potatoes and then it's broiled until golden brown.
Ready in: 1hour15minutes
2 1/2 lbsrusset potatoes,peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1/3cuphalf and halfor cream, then a little more if needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 mediumyellow onion,chopped (1 1/4 cups)
2mediumcarrots,diced (1 cup)
1largecelery rib,thinly diced (1/2 cup)
3garlic cloves,minced (1 Tbsp)
1 1/2lbs.lean ground beef(85 - 93% lean), or ground lamb
2 1/2Tbsptomato paste
2tspminced fresh rosemary
2tspminced fresh thyme
1/2cupdry red wine(or more beef broth)
1 1/2cupslow-sodium beef broth
2Tbspchopped fresh parsley,plus more for garnish
To Make Mashed Potatoes
Add potatoes to pot with water: Place potatoes in a medium pot or large saucepan. Cover with water by 1-inch and season water with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cook potatoes until tender: Let gently boil until potatoes are fully tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 - 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under hot water for about 5 seconds to remove excess starches (which can make potatoes gluey).
Rice Potatoes: Drain potatoes then pass through a food mill or potato ricer into same pot*.
Stir with liquid ingredients: Melt 5 Tbsp butter and add to potatoes along with half and half and sour cream. Stir just to combine while seasoning with salt to taste and adding an extra 1 -2 Tbsp half and half to thin if needed. Cover and set aside if filling isn't yet complete.
To Make Beef Filling (prepare while potatoes cook)
Saute veggies: Melt remaining 1 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch (and deep) cast iron skillet. Add onion, carrots, celery and saute until nearly soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
Cook beef: Add ground beef in chunks and cook and break up beef until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. If you find there's lots of excess fat then dab some up using balled up paper towels held by tongs (leave 1 - 2 Tbsp rendered fat).
Add thickeners: Add flour and tomato paste and saute 1 minute.
Pour in liquids, let reduce: Pour in red wine, beef broth, Worcestershire, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a simmer stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until reduced by about 2/3 (and alcohol scent has cooked off), about 8 - 10 minutes.
Add remaining greens: Stir in peas and parsley and heat through, about 1 minute. Season filling with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble shepard's pie: Spread beef filling into an even layer. Dollop spoonfuls of mashed potatoes evenly over top then spread into an even layer**.
Decorate: Run a fork along top to create a pattern of wavy rows.
Bake: Move oven rack about 5-inches below broiler and preheat broiler to high. Transfer to oven and let broil until golden brown on top about 4 - 6 minutes (keep a close on it as every oven varies).
Rest: Let rest a few minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired.
*Alternatively you can just mash with a potato masher they just won't be perfectly smooth.
*Rather than spooning potatoes you can pipe potatoes over filling using a resealable bag with the corner cut or you can make a design with potatoes using a piping bag fitted with a star shaped piping tip.
Add other vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini. If doing so brown beef separately. And transfer mixture to a metal or ceramic baking dish since it won't all fit in the cast iron pan.
Sprinkle potatoes with parmesan cheese before broiling for extra flavor.
Want even richer potatoes? Use heavy cream in place of half and half.