Comfort food: Shepherds pie recipes

Jan 23, 2009 at 6:36 a.m. ET

The classic English dish Shepherds pie, most often - and conveniently - made with leftovers, is a comfort food must on chilly winter days. Filled with hearty ingredients and topped with a creamy and crispy mashed potato crust, the traditional meat pie can have many mouthwatering variations and is a very simple dinner to prepare. Here are a few Shepherds pie recipes with some delectably surprising twists.

Shepards Pie

Shepherds Pie Recipes

Classic Shepherds Pie

Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, quartered, rinsed
3 tablespoons butter, divided, 2 tablespoons kept chilled
Fresh ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound raw ground lamb or beef or finely-chopped leftover cooked lamb or beef
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup beef or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
Pinch ground nutmeg Directions:
1. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 12 to 14 minutes. Drain potatoes, saving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Place potatoes back into pot and cook an extra minute or so to cook out extra water. 2. Remove potatoes from heat and begin mashing with a fork or masher. While mashing, add some of the cooking water, 1 tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper. Keep mashing and adding cooking water as needed until potatoes are fluffy. 3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sauté onion, carrot, and celery in vegetable oil over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 4. Add meat to vegetables and cook over medium heat. If using raw meat, cook for about 10 minutes breaking up as it is cooking. If using cooked meat, brown for about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan and sprinkle with flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the stock into the mixture along with thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, and additional salt and pepper. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove skillet from heat and let mixture cool for a few minutes. 5. Spoon the meat mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, spreading to the edges. Spread the mashed potatoes on top and dot with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake in oven about 30 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes are golden. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

Chicken Shepherds Pie

Makes 6 servings Ingredients:
Olive oil
1 medium head garlic, sliced in half
8 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1 pound cooked, shredded chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil over roasted garlic and wrap in foil. Place on a small sheet pan and roast in oven for about 45 minutes or until soft. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F. 2. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Begin mashing potatoes with a fork or masher. Mash in butter, milk, and roasted garlic (squeeze inside of garlic out of skin)/ Set aside. 3. Spread chicken in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate or medium casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and top with peppers, corn, and 3/4 cup of cheese. Spoon mashed potatoes evenly over chicken and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden.

Sweet Potato Pork Shepherds Pie

Makes 6 servings Ingredients:
8 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup milk
2 cups shredded cooked pork
3 medium onions, sliced
4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning Directions:
1. Cook sweet potatoes in salted boiling water until fork tender, about 13 to 15 minutes and drain. Mash potatoes with fork or potato masher. Mash in salt, pepper, 1/4 cup butter, and milk and set aside. 2. Sauté pork, onions and apple in 2 tablespoons of melted butter until pork is just brown. Spoon pork mixture using a slotted spoon into a 9-inch pie plate or medium casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 3. Whisk flour into skillet adding additional butter if needed. Pour chicken broth into skillet slowly, stirring until thick. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Pour mixture over pork. Spread mashed sweet potatoes over pork. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until potatoes are golden.

More meat pie recipes

Tex-Mex Chili Pie
St Patrick's Day Shepherd Pie
Healthy Chicken Pot Pie