It has always bothered me that Shepherd’s pie isn’t really a pie. The standard recipe is just a meat and veggie mixture thrown in a baking dish with mashed potatoes on top. What happened to the best part of the pie?!? The flaky buttery crust?!? Fear not! I have a remedy.

Pie is not just for dessert!

slice of Shepherd's Pie 2

*note: I made this again and swapped in some new photos on 12/21/10. This time, I did it with a different crust, which was also great. You can use the original, a good classic crust, or the cheddar crust, given at the bottom.

Shepherd’s PIE


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Top Crust

  • 2 russet potatoes (a little more than 1 pound), peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup 1/2% buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt and white pepper


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/3 cup (1/4″ cubes) carrots
  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • kosher salt and pepper


  • 1 cup shredded cheddar


1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter and shortening until it looks coarse and crumbly. Sprinkle ice water while tossing together with a fork. Form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (proceed to make the rest).
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Simmer potatoes in a small pot with salted water until fork tender (how long will depend on how big you cut the pieces).
3. Strain potatoes, and return to the same pot. Mash and mix in buttermilk and butter. Season to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mashed Potatoes

4. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium heat. Add onions and carrots, stir around until softened, about 3 minutes. Crumble beef with your hand and spread across the pan. Stir until browned.

5. Add beef broth, Worcestershire, and dried oregano. Stir around until there is only a thin layer of liquid left on the bottom. Sprinkle the flour on and stir in (it will absorbs the rest of the liquid). Stir in peas. Season to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
6. Roll out dough and lay into a 9″ pie plate.
7. Spoon in meat mixture.

Shepherd's Pie, meat layer

8. Spread mashed potatoes on top of meat mixture. Scratch with a fork to make it bumpy.

before baking Shepherd's Pie

9. Bake for 22 minutes. Sprinkle cheddar on top. Bake for another 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

slice of Shepherd's Pie 3

Cheddar Crust Alternative

  • scant 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour + extra for rolling
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
  • 1/4 cup (about) ice water

Instructions –

Blend flour and salt in processor. Add shortening and butter and cut in using several on/off turns. Add cheese and pulse until it resemble small peas. With machine running, gradually blend in enough water (may not need all) until soft moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

posted by jessica at 08:31 AM Filed under American, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.