I'm really excited to share this newest recipe with everyone. Though, technically because I'm using beef instead of lamb, it should be called a "Cottage Pie."
This recipe is inspired over by the marvelous Daniel Gritzer over at Serious Eats. I seriously love all of his recipes and think he's brilliant If you haven't tried his pesto sauce recipe yet, I have a version of it on our site here.
Two of the big departures I made in my version were: (1) I included fresh white corn and mushrooms because I love them, and (2) skipped out on the peas (I know, but I really don't like peas). Of course, this recipe is pretty forgiving so if you want peas + corn, go for it. Or just peas? Okay too.
I made this dish as part of our freezer meal prep weekend. It yielded four 2-cup portions (about a cup of meat sauce base + cup of delicious mashed potatoes each).
Full ingredients and directions below.
How To Make Easy Freezer Shepherd's Pie
Step 1: Gather all your ingredients for the meat sauce
In the directions below, I suggest starting with the mashed potatoes. You can do either. In reality, I made the meat sauce first on a Saturday night, put them in the Souper Cubes® containers in a fridge over night, and then woke up in the morning and prepared the mashed potatoes.
Step 2: Brown ground meat in a large skillet
I added two tablespoons of oil, heated it up, then added the ground beef. I prefer to use 85% lean ground beef.
Step 3: Set ground beef aside, add chopped veggies and garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then add beef back to the pan. Stir in tomato paste.
Step 4: Add in red wine and stir until evaporated, then sprinkle flour. Stir together, then add chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme leaves, corn and Worcestershire sauce.
Step 5: Reduce to a low simmer, cover with lid for 20 minutes, then remove bay leaf
Once cooked, I placed the meat filling in my new 2-cup trays and let them hang out in the refrigerator as I started the mashed potatoes. You can also just place it in a bowl to sit in the refrigerator but I wanted to reduce how many dishes I was using.
Step 6: Place peeled and cut potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water, add salt. Then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until fully cooked (should be tender and easily pierced with a fork).
Step 7: Drain water from pot, add butter and cream. Mash together.
Step 8: Assemble your pies. Fill each container with meat filling first, and then mashed potato topping (to your preference). Freeze to enjoy for later.
Optional: top with shredded aged cheddar or parmesan cheese.
Step 9: When you're ready to bake, place in a 400F oven and bake for 35+ minutes. Broil for 3-5 minutes to get the mashed potatoes nice and crispy.
Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Beef
Makes 4 dinner-sized portions
Mashed Potato Topping:
- 3lbs of russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: shredded parmesan or dry aged cheddar.
Meat Sauce Base:
- 1 cup chicken stock or bone broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1.5 lbs ground beef (we used 85% lean)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small carton mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white corn
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Make mashed potatoes. Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Place in a pot and fill with cold water (covering the potatoes with at least 2 inches of water). Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook until you can easily pierce the potatoes (roughly 10-15 minutes). Drain and rinse potatoes, then mash. Add butter and heavy cream. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Make Meat Sauce. Heat oil in a large Dutch or pot oven over high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Set aside in a bowl.
- If a lot of fat is in the pan, remove and add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Stir for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir for another 3-4 minutes. Add browned ground beef back into the pot. Push veggies to side of the pot and add tomato paste, then stir together for one minutes. Add red wine and stir until liquid has almost evaporated.
- Sprinkle flour over the beef and then add chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme leaves, corn and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Stir together. Reduce to a low simmer and cover with lid. After 20 minutes, remove bay leaf.
- Assemble Shepherd's Pies. In your freezer-safe container, first add meat sauce. Make sure you don't fill up more than half the dish. Then add the potato topping and optional shredded cheese.
- When You're Ready to Bake. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Place Shepherd's (Cottage) Pie an oven-safe dish. Bake for 35+ minutes (depends on your oven). Once its done, broil for 3-5 minutes.
Looking for other complete dinners you can make with your 2-cup tray? Be sure to check out our individual lasagna recipe!
Here's the 2-cup trays we used in the recipe: