This fresh take on Shepherd's Pie adds tender, flaky pie crust and loads of cheddar cheese to a traditional ground beef and vegetable filling topped with fluffy whipped potatoes. It's the perfect fall and winter comfort food that the whole family will love.
8tablespoonscold unsalted buttercut into small cubes (113g)
1teaspoonapple cider vinegar
Ground Beef Filling
3/4poundground chuck or sirloin
1/2cupfrozen sliced carrotsthawed, excess water drained
1-1/2teaspoondried rubbed sage
1/4cupdark stout or porter beer
1/2cupfrozen peasthawed, excess water drained
1-1/2poundsyukon gold potatoescut into 1-inch cubes
1/4cup (1/2 stick)unsalted butter
1/2cupsharp cheddar cheeseshredded
salt and pepperto taste
Prepare Pie Crust
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Then, stir to combine.Next, cut in the shortening and butter using a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbles.In a liquid measuring cup, combine the apple cider vinegar and water. Slowly add the water-vinegar mixture to the mixing bowl, using a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together. Continue to stir until the water is fully absorbed. Then use your hands to press and knead the wetter portions of the dough into the drier parts. Continue to work the dough until everything seems moist. Note that the pie dough will still be rather crumbly at this point. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and divide it into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a flattened disc. Wrap each disc tightly in the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.Shortcut: Speed up prep time by making the dough ahead. Once shaped and wrapped in plastic, the pie dough can be chilled in the refrigerator for up to three days. Alternatively, you're also welcome to use your favorite store-bought crust for this recipe also.
Prepare the Mashed Potatoes
Fill a large pot halfway with water and add the salt. Bring to a boil and then add the cubed potatoes. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. Add the butter, cream, salt and pepper and then mash until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and cover with a lid to keep warm.
While the potatoes cook, prepare the filling. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the onions. Cook until softened and translucent; about 4 minutes. Next, add the ground beef to the pot and break up with a rubber spatula. Season with salt and continue to cook until brown and no pink remains.Add the thawed, drained carrots to the pot along with the garlic, sage, thyme and Worcestershire. Stir into the beef and onions and cook until fragrant; 1-2 minutes. To the mixture add the flour and stir to coat the beef and vegetables. Next, add the chicken stock, tomato paste, mustard and beer. Bring the mixture to a strong simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Add the thawed peas, stir and then cook for 5-8 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the pie crust dough from the refrigerator and roll each disc out to a 1/8-inch thick circle; about 6-inches in diameter. You can either shape the circles by hand for a rustic look or use a large circular cookie cutter for a more polished look. Transfer the pie crust rounds to a baking sheet and then bake for 15-20 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven until golden brown. Remove promptly but leave the oven on.Next, neatly spoon a generous mound of the prepared beef filling over each prepared pie crust. Then top with lots of mashed potatoes and shredded cheddar cheese. Return the pies to the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and serve warm.Tip: You can either spoon the potatoes onto the beef mixture for a rustic look, or you can pipe them with a pastry bag for a more elegant look.
Note on Portion Size: This recipe makes four very generous-sized individual shepherd's pies. If you're serving 5-6 people, you could easily make the pie-crusts rounds a little smaller (closer to 4-5 inches) and stretch the filling and potatoes to accommodate that many servings. Adjust the size of your pies accordingly based on the size of your party and their appetites.Storage Instructions: Assembled and baked shepherd's pies may be stored refrigerated in airtight containers for 3 days. For best results, reheat in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees to maintain the crispness of the crust.Make-ahead Directions: Prepare the filling, mashed potatoes and pie dough in advance and store in separate airtight containers. Each component can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. For the pie dough, store the rounds, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap with layers of parchment between each crust. When ready to prepare, thaw the pie dough (if necessary), and bake the crusts as directed above. Then reheat the filling and potatoes until warm in the microwave. When the crusts are baked, proceed with assembling the shepherd's pies as directed above in the recipe.