Olde English Shepherds Pie Recipe

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Shepherds Pie is a traditional English dish which dates back to the mid-1800’s and has evolved into all kinds of variations these days. Traditionally made with mince and mashed potato, putting a ‘twist’ on it can be lots of fun and impress any guests! We have stuck with more or less the traditional method, with a couple of additions, but see our ‘TIPS’ for some more interesting versions. In fact, for those of you interested in food history, ‘shepherds pie’ was actually made from minced lamb, whereas ‘cottage pie’ was made from minced beef. For the purpose of this recipe, we have stuck to beef mince.

Serves: 4/5
Preparation Time/Cooking Time: 45 mins



1 tbs of oil
1 large onion chopped
2 medium sized carrots, chopped into small ‘cube’ type pieces
1½ lbs beef mince
12 oz of good beef stock
Fresh thyme leaves, about one stalk, or 1 tsp of dried thyme
2 tbs of tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Worcester sauce – a few ‘glugs’ (to your taste, but it really does bring the flavor of the meat out)
3 lbs of potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 oz butter
3 oz milk



Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5. Using a large pan with a lid, heat the oil and cook on a relatively low temperature, then add the chopped onion and carrots for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until they are quite soft. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, stir fry the mince until it is browned, again taking care not to burn. Mix in the tomato puree, and then add the stock, Worcester sauce and thyme. Cover and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent any sticking. Season according to taste.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft. Drain and mash with the butter and the milk. Add the milk gradually to prevent the potatoes from being ‘too sloppy’. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Put the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish, top with the potatoes (make a nice pattern on the top with a fork) and place in the oven for approx 20 mins until nice and brown on the top. For a crispier top, place under the grill for about a minute once you have cooked the pie. But watch carefully – no burning!



You can spice up the meat with any herbs or spices to give it a different flavor.

Instead of using just potatoes, use potatoes and parsnips for the topping.

You could use sweet potatoes and mix with a curry seasoning for a spicier dish.

Add a couple of teaspoons of horseradish sauce to the potato – again, this spices up the whole dish.

Change the topping by adding sliced leeks and grated cheese before oven cooking.