Shepherd’s Pie is a crowd-pleasing comfort food that is great for gatherings with friends and family. This dish has a few steps and takes a little while to cook, but one of the huge benefits of this meal is you can prepare it the day before.  It might even be tastier that way.

What you need to make to make Shepherd’s Pie For a Crowd:

Equipment
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Large frying pan 
  • 9”x13” baking dish
  • Sharp knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Potato masher 
  • Wooden spoon
Produce:
  • 5 lbs peeled and diced Russet potatoes
  • 4 large onions diced
  • 4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves pressed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary 
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
Dairy:
  • 8 tbsps butter
  • ½ cup half-and-half
Meat: 
  • 1 lb ground lamb 
  • 2 lbs ground beef (90/10)
Pantry:
  • Kosher salt (2 tsp potatoes topping) (2 tsp meat filling)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • 4 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
ground beef, peas, onion, rosemary, red wine, beef stock, corn in a bow, garlic, thyme
potatoes, butter, milk

Make the mashed potatoes:

Peel and dice the potatoes into roughly 1” sized cubes.  Add the potatoes and water to a large pot and bring to a boil.   Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. When the potatoes are soft enough to easily push a fork through them, they are done.  Drain the potatoes into a colander to remove all of the water.  Return the potatoes to the large pot and add the butter and half-and-half.   Mash the potatoes until they are soft and fluffy, fully incorporating the butter, salt and cream. 

Make the Shepherd’s Pie filling:

In a large cast-iron or frying pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Chop the onions and add them to the hot oil. Season the onions with 1 teaspoon salt and a 1/2 fresh ground pepper. While the onions get cooking, peel and chop the carrots into small pieces. Add the carrots to the onions after they have softened for about 5 to 7 minutes. Allow the carrots to cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes before adding the garlic. Let the onions, carrots, and garlic sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.

ground beef with diced onions and carrots in skillet with wooden spoon
corn, peas, rosemary, ground beef with diced onions and carrots in skillet with wooden spoon

Now it’s time to add the meat to the vegetables. I like to use ground lamb and ground beef in this recipe.  I think using this combination provides the dish an interesting depth of flavor. It is perfectly fine to use just lamb or just beef. Once you’ve added the meat to the cast iron add another 1 teaspoon salt  salt and a few more turns of the pepper grinder. Bring the heat up to a medium-high so the meat browns. With the wooden spoon, stir the meat around with the onions, carrots, and garlic. Allow the meat to cook until brown, about 8 to 10 stirring occasionally.

Once the meat is browned, add the red wine and allow the wine to cook off for 5-10 minutes. Next, add the tomato paste and actively stir it in for two minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Now, add the fresh herbs, beef broth, frozen peas, and frozen corn. Lower the heat to medium allowing any excess liquid to cook off for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Assembling your Shepherd’s Pie:

If you plan on serving the dish right away and if you’ve cooked the filling in an oven-safe cast iron dish, add the potatoes directly on top of the filling mixture. If you want to serve the dish at a later time or need an oven-safe dish, transfer the filling to a 9×13 baking dish. Once the filling is topped with the mashed potatoes, place the dish in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Once it is warmed through, place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to give the potatoes a slight golden color. 

If you make the shepherd’s pie in advance, bright it to room temperature and cook it for 30-40 minutes before placing it under the broiler. 

Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd

Shepherd’s Pie is a crowd-pleasing comfort food that is great for gatherings with friends and family. This dish has a few steps and takes a little while to cook, but one of the huge benefits of this meal is you can prepare it the day before. It might even be tastier that way.
Prep Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Large frying pan
  • 9”x13” baking dish
  • Sharp knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Potato masher
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

  • Produce:
  • 5 lbs peeled and diced Russet potatoes
  • 4 large onions diced
  • 4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves pressed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Dairy:
  • 8 tbsps butter
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • Meat:
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 2 lbs ground beef 90/10
  • Pantry:
  • Kosher salt 2 tsp potatoes topping (2 tsp meat filling)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • 4 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste

Instructions
 

  • Make the mashed potatoes:
  • Peel and dice the potatoes into roughly 1” sized cubes.
  • Add the potatoes and water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • When the potatoes are soft enough to easily push a fork through them, they are done.
  • Drain the potatoes into a colander to remove all of the water.
  • Return the potatoes to the large pot and add the butter and half-and-half.
  • Mash the potatoes until they are soft and fluffy, fully incorporating the butter, salt and cream.
  • Make the Shepherd’s Pie filling:
  • In a large cast-iron or frying pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.
  • Chop the onions and add them to the hot oil.
  • Season the onions with 1 teaspoon salt and a 1/2 fresh ground pepper.
  • While the onions get cooking, peel and chop the carrots into small pieces.
  • Add the carrots to the onions after they have softened for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Allow the carrots to cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes before adding the garlic.
  • Let the onions, carrots, and garlic sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Now it’s time to add the meat to the vegetables.
  • Add the meat to the cast iron add another 1 teaspoon salt and a few more turns of the pepper grinder.
  • Bring the heat up to a medium-high so the meat browns.
  • With the wooden spoon, stir the meat around with the onions, carrots, and garlic.
  • Allow the meat to cook until brown, about 8 to 10 stirring occasionally.
  • Once the meat is browned, add the red wine and allow the wine to cook off for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and actively stir it in for two minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
  • Add the fresh herbs, beef broth, frozen peas, and frozen corn. Lower the heat to medium allowing any excess liquid to cook off for about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Assembling your Shepherd’s Pie:
  • If you plan on serving the dish right away and if you’ve cooked the filling in an oven-safe cast iron dish, add the potatoes directly on top of the filling mixture.
  • If you want to serve the dish at a later time or need an oven-safe dish, transfer the filling to a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Once the filling is topped with the mashed potatoes, place the dish in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
  • Once it is warmed through, place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to give the potatoes a slight golden color.

Notes

If you make the shepherd’s pie in advance, bright it to room temperature and cook it for 30-40 minutes before placing it under the broiler.
Keyword freezer-friendly.