Shepherdess Pie

The dishes, Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie are nearly synonymous. However, in the United Kingdom where the dishes originated, it’s a Shepherd’s pie when using lamb and a Cottage Pie when using beef. Since our pie has neither of these meats, it’s referred to as a Shepherdess Pie.

Shepherd’s Pie was the most sought after recipe requested online in 2019. This is really something and tells me that cooks are revisiting casseroles for their menus. It makes sense to me. Solid cuts of meat have become pricey for the average family. Also, casserole and layered dishes can be so much more aromatic and pleasing to the palate.

What all three of our pies have in common is the attribute of a mashed potato crust on top. Our Shepherdess Pie has only minced vegetables under the potato crust.

There is no pat choice of which vegetables you can use in a Shepherdess Pie, but the veggies in this recipe meld together well. One big advantage when creating this pie is the fact that the vegetable and starch portion of your meal will be an all-in-one dish. Since my household isn’t vegetarian, I’ll serve this Shepherdess Pie with chicken or fish.

If you enjoy tofu and are a vegetarian, you can substitute a 1/2 pound of tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and sauted in 2 tablespoons of oil before adding to the vegetables, in place of the garbanzo beans. If you like to do everything from scratch, you can use dried garbanzo beans that have been soaked and cooked according to package directions. The attached Shepherdess Pie photo is half the size of what the directions will create. Cutting the recipe in half can be enough of a side dish for 2 to 4 diners.

Wishing you a Happy New Year of cooking in 2020 and including a few meaningful lines from a poem by Bernard F. Asuncion:

“Time is like a running river, You can’t touch the same water twice; Because the flow that has just passed, Won’t come again before your eyes.”

Shepherdess Pie

Serves 6 to 8

5 cups red potatoes (about 5 large), peeled and quartered

3 tablespoons unsalted butter - divided

Splash of milk or half and half

3/4 teaspoon salt - divided

1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper - divided

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened to room temperature

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups white onion, chopped

2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon, crushed - divided

2 cups broccoli stems and florets, chopped uniformly

1 cup green pepper, chopped

1 cup canned garbanzo beans, washed and drained

2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut off cob (uncooked)

1 1/4 cups sour cream

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Butter for pan


Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Cook potatoes till done and drain. Place potatoes in large bowl and mash with 2 tablespoons butter. Add splash of milk if too dry. Continue mashing with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, parsley, and cream cheese till blended. Set aside. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet and saute the onions, basil, 1 teaspoon tarragon, and broccoli for a few minutes. Don’t allow to brown.

After a few minutes add green pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. When vegetables are tender but not overcooked, set aside and add garbanzo beans and mix well.

Butter inside of a 9 X 13 inch pan or casserole. Add vegetable mix evenly across bottom of pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Saute mushrooms and remaining 1/2 teaspoon tarragon. Remove from heat when cooked. Add corn and sour cream. Layer on top of other vegetables. Then layer on potatoes, covering entire vegetable medley. Sprinkle on cheese.

Lightly sprinkle with paprika. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 15 minutes or until browned.

Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

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