With just a few days until St. Patrick’s Day, it’s time to start planning your menu! While there are many traditional St. Patrick’s Day Recipes making their way across the Internet this month – corned beef and cabbage, Irish Stew, and Soda Bread to name a few, I’ve decided to keep things simple this year, and serve my Traditional Shepherd’s Pie Recipe for the big day.
My lightened up version is a lot lower in fat, calories, and Points, but it’s still the perfect, hearty, savory comfort food classic that we all know and love. It’s a great dinner recipe to make ahead and reheat later – which is great for me, because we often have a lot of activities/events happening on St. Patrick’s Day itself, and I often have little time to cook.
WHAT IS SHEPHERD’S PIE?
For any of you who may not be familiar with is, Shepherd’s Pie is a rustic, casserole-style dish that originated in the UK. Traditionally, it’s made with lamb or mutton, but Americans seem to prefer to make it with ground beef instead.
In fact, it’s sometimes referred to as “cottage pie” when it’s made with ground beef, and the term “shepherd’s pie” is used only when made from lamb.
Basically, shepherd’s pie is a casserole that’s made with layers of beef and vegetables, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes, and then baked to brown the mashed potatoes. In earlier times, it was a way to use up leftover meat. But it has since become a beloved St. Patrick’s day tradition across the world.
Each spoonful delivers a nice, big, hearty bite of juicy meat, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes, thick gravy, and savory vegetables. Truly, it is a class comfort food recipe, in every sense of the word. It’s definitely a deliciously filling, stick-to-your-ribs recipe that will leave you feeling very satisfied.
In my Traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe, I stuck to the basics but made a few changes to keep it light and healthy, but still making sure to hit all the anticipated textures and flavor notes.
One of the changes I made was to include finely chopped mushrooms in my ground beef and vegetable mixture. Since mushrooms have an earthy, almost meaty flavor themselves, they tend to work perfectly with the beef, and it helps to bulk up the dish, making it feel more substantial, without adding extra fat and calories.
When it comes to mashed potatoes, I like to add a bit of sour cream. This adds a really nice creamy texture and a slight touch of tang to the mashed potatoes. Actually, I add sour cream to my mashed potatoes EVERY time I make them and let me just tell you, that everyone who has them, has told me that they were the best mashed potatoes they ever had. Sour cream – it’s the secret ingredient!
In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day this year, whip up this savory Shepherd’s Pie from the British Isles, for a delicious St. Paddy’s Day dinner that will keep your belly full while you are drinking all of that green beer and Irish whiskey! You’ll thank me later!
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef - (95% lean)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes - (peeled and cut into cubes)
- ½ cup fat free milk
- 1 tbsp light butter
- 2 tbsp low fat sour cream
- 1 small onion - (finely diced)
- 3 cloves garlic - (minced)
- 1 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables - (mine had carrots, corn, peas, and green beans)
- 8 oz mushrooms - (finely chopped)
- 1 cup fat free beef broth
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp fresh thyme - (chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the cubed potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold, salted water. Bring water to a boil, and cook until potatoes are soft and tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and reurn the saucepan. Add in butter, milk, and sour cream, then mash well with a potato masher or fork. Season with salt as desired. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add in ground beef, and cook until mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
- Stir in the onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the frozen vegetables, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, flour, and thyme. Mix well, and let simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until sauce is reduced to a thick, meaty gravy. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- While meat mixture is simmering, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread meat and vegetable mixture along the bottom of a casserole dish (9 x 13 or oval shaped). Top with the prepared mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with a light dusting of paprika or cayenne, if desired.
- Place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before servings.
- The entire recipe makes 6 servings
- The serving size is 1/6th of the casserole