Shepherd's Pie Recipe

With a potato-based topping and plenty of mixed vegetables, shepherd’s pie is an easy dish to make with leftover or surplus meats and veggies. Since you can throw in just about anything, it’s perfect for cooks who want to be creative with their recipes!

From "Growing Local Food"
June 2016

  • There’s no need to add all these ingredients. Use what you enjoy and have available, like dried beans, which are a good alternative to meat.
    Photo by Fotolia/Bill
  • “Growing Local Foods” by Mary Lou Shaw
    Photo courtesy of Carlisle Press

Mary Lou Shaw is a former physician, current homesteader, who has seen the consequences of unhealthy eating firsthand. These experiences have shown her the difference that good eating habits can make. And the easiest way to eat healthy? Grow your own ingredients. While processed foods put people at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, farming, gardening, and eating food that only travels yards to the table promotes a return to a healthy lifestyle where you are directly involved in the creation of your meals and assured of their quality. In Growing Local Food (Carlisle Press, 2012), Dr. Shaw discusses her personal change to homegrown ingredients, how she’s found success on the farm and in the garden — from planting seeds to food preservation — and tips for how you can do the same. In her book are dozens of original recipes to browse, too, a great place to start searching for uses for your fresh ingredients. Healthy eating has to begin somewhere. Whether on an acre of land or in a garden box, it could begin with you.


For the topping:
• About 2 pounds Gold Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately 1-inch chunks
• 1/2 to 1 cup milk, a large tablespoon butter and salt to taste
• 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

For the filling:
• Canola oil and butter (mixture for sautéing vegetables)
• One pound beef, chicken or lamb, cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch cubes, or one cup dried beans, cooked
• One onion, chopped
• About three carrots cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1/2 cup green beans cut into 1-inch lengths
• 1/2 cup turnips cut to bite-sized pieces
• 1/2 cup peas or corn from freezer
• 2 to 3 cloves garlic (to taste)
• 1 cup meat or vegetable broth
• 1 teaspoon cumin or sage, thyme and fennel
• Salt and pepper to taste


For the topping:

1. Prepare potatoes and have them cooking while you compile the filling. To cook, place cut potatoes into cold, salted water and cook them for 15 to 20 minutes, partially covered, until a knife can be inserted easily.

2. Drain the potatoes and mash. Continue beating while adding sufficient warmed milk and butter until smooth. Add salt and grated cheese to taste.

For the filling:

1. Melt the butter in hot oil and cook onions until translucent.

2. Cover the meat cubes with flour, then cook until brown on all sides. If already cooked, just add in bite-sized pieces.

3. Gradually add the vegetables to hot skillet beginning with carrots, including beans if used.

4. Add broth and simmer meat and vegetables for about ten minutes on medium heat.

5. Add seasoning. Don’t hesitate to add plenty of black pepper or even a mildly spiced pepper like poblano.

6. Next, place the meat and vegetable mix in a large, rectangular baking dish and cover with the mashed potatoes. Cook at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Always cook uncovered.

More from Growing Local Food:

Sweet Potato Soup Recipe
Gardening Tips for Small Spaces
Eating Your Curds and Whey

Reprinted with permission from Growing Local Food by Mary Lou Shaw, published by Carlisle Press, 2012.

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