Simple Cottage (Shepherd’s) Pie

There’s something comforting about a warm casserole, straight from the oven, on a cold January day.  
Though commonly referred to as Shepherd’s Pie, Cottage Pie is such a simple combination of flavors and textures, but the end result is amazing!  Cottage Pie originated sometime in the late 1700’s and was a meat pie with a potato crust on the top.  The term Shepherd’s Pie actually emerged in the late 1800’s and refers to a similar dish, but uses lamb as the primary ingredient verses the beef in Cottage Pie.  It is common, though incorrect (and I’m ok with that) to refer to our typical beef variety as Shepherd’s Pie.
So, while I may be technically wrong, I call mine Shepherd’s Pie.
So, here’s what you need for a killer Simple Shepherd’s Pie…Everything can be made up to a day ahead and put together just before baking.
Creamed Potato Topping:
2 Pounds Idaho Potatoes
8 Ounces Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (Fat Free or Low Fat)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Milk (Fat Free or Low Fat)
Gravy:
 4 Tablespoons Salted Sweet Cream Butter
4 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
4 Cups Beef Stock
Pepper (To Taste)
Filling:
1 Tablespoon Salted Sweet Cream Butter
1 Sweet Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
2 (16 oz) Packages Frozen Mixed Vegetables, Thawed
Salt and Pepper (To Taste)
This dish is prepared in three steps.  Step 1 is the creamed potato topping.  You can find the instructions for my creamed potatoes here.
Step 2 is the gravy.  Start by melting the butter over medium heat.  Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk the two together to create a rue.  Allow this to cook for a moment, then begin whisking in the beef stock.  Season the mixture with pepper and simmer to thicken.
In the meantime, you can begin step 3.  Melt your butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and beef.  Stir the mixture to break up the beef as it cooks.  Once the meat has browned, add the veggies and season with salt and pepper.
After the meat/veggie mixture has heated through, stir in the gravy and transfer the meat/veggie/gravy mixture to a 9 x 13 pan.  Top with the creamed potatoes, using a knife or spatula to spread them into an even layer.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until the potatoes brown (about 20-25 minutes).
This is fantastic straight out of the oven, but my husband prefers it after it’s sat overnight.  The left overs are phenomenal!  This makes a solid 8 servings, so there will be left overs!
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4 Responses to Simple Cottage (Shepherd’s) Pie

  1. Michelle says:

    Sounds so yummy! We do ours with taco seasoning and cheese on top. I think I’ll try your version sometime too. I always like to try different things!

  2. Looks yum, but you know me, no meat and too many ingredients. ;)

  3. Kathy says:

    This seems perfect for a cold night. I like things that I can make ahead. Great to find you on Twitter. I’m now following your great site!

  4. Anonymous says:

    What is salted sweet cream butter? Can I use just regular salted butter instead?

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