Shepherds Pie (aka White Trash Supper)



This is is a dish I’ve been making for years and we always called it “White Trash Supper”.  Everyone loves the two major components in this dish…mashed potatoes and ground beef (or lamb or pork or a combination of ground meats). I take back saying everyone loves mashed potatoes. I happen to know several people who don’t like potatoes at all and one who just does not like mashed potatoes.  So this would suit 95% of the people I might cook for. This is traditional British pub food. Not spicy. Not fancy. Just a very simple comforting dish. Kids like it. Grown ups like it. Picky eaters like it. In this recipe I’ve added a few more vegetables (which picky eaters might want to cross off the ingredients list).  This is another recipe that works well with whatever you have on hand in the fridge. There are two components… the potato and the beef.


2 pounds of potatoes peeled, diced and rinsed

2 cloves garlic (optional)

1/3 cup half and half

4 T butter

1 egg yolk

salt and pepper to taste


Put the potatoes and garlic in a sauce pan with water, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and simmer over medium low heat until the potatoes are tender for mashing. In the meantime start working on the base.



2 T olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 leeks sliced thin, white and pale green part only

2 cloves garlic

2 carrots peeled and small diced

1 cup mushrooms chopped

1 pound ground meat (beef, lamb, or pork)

2 T tomato paste

2 T flour

1 cup beef, chicken or mushroom broth

+ 1/2 cup of the water the potatoes were cooked in

1 T Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn



Prep all of your vegetables.


In a large heavy skillet heat the oil. Sauté the onion, leeks and carrots over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.


Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. image

Add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink.


Add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle the flour over the meat mixture and stir until incorporated. Add the tomato paste, the broth and the potato water and simmer stirring frequently until mixture thickens. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the peas and corn. Remove from heat.


Put the meat mixture into an 8×11″ casserole dish or evenly distribute into 4 individual serving casserolettes. I used the single serving oven proof dishes.


Your potatoes should be done. Drain off the remaining water and put in a bowl for mashing.  In the potato pot, over low heat, melt the butter and warm the half n half.


Add warmed butter and half n half, the egg yolk and salt and pepper to taste to the potatoes and mash. I used my hand mixer and whipped the potatoes. I rarely whip potatoes because my daughter has always preferred them smashed by hand. But she isn’t here for dinner. If she were I’d be using my masher. Once you’ve mashed or whipped your potatoes you have the top layer for your pie. Spread it out to the edges of the dish like you’d do if you were icing a cake. I sprinkled the top with a little paprika.


Bake on a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper in case of bubbling over messing up your oven incidents. Bake for 25 minutes until potatoes are golden.


Enjoy this simple, hearty dish with a little salad and bread and butter.  I enjoyed an adult beverage with mine and pretended I was in a British pub.


I sometimes kick up the mashed potatoes a bit with some prepared horseradish but I didn’t have any today. You can also add a little cheese. If your family dislikes peas or corn you can substitute other vegetables. Also, I made a cup of broth from Mushroom Better than Bouillon but you could use chicken or beef broth.


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