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Shepherd’s Pot Pie

Servings: 8 to 10

In this classic British staple, red wine adds a deep mellow richness to a hearty beef filling. The creamy mashed potato topping, seasoned with sour cream and Parmigiano, is brightened with peas, but they can be omitted from the topping and added to the filling. This recipe also will make four generous individual pies or five slightly smaller pies.


For the filling

  • 2 Tbs. grapeseed or other neutral cooking oil
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1-1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup lower-salt beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. chili sauce
  • 2-1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 4 cups peeled, coarsely chopped russet potatoes (about 1-1/2 lb.)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature; plus 1 Tbs. melted
  • 2 Tbs. sour cream
  • 6 Tbs. warm milk or half-and-half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 460
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 240
  • Fat (g): 27
  • Saturated Fat (g): 13
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 80
  • Sodium (mg): 960
  • Carbohydrates (g): 37
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Sugar (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 18


  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle approximately 13 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a standard (not deep dish) 9-1/2-inch pie plate. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan without stretching it, then fold over the edge and crimp. Refrigerate the pie shell, 30 to 45 minutes.

Make the filling

  • Heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and garlic, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces of beef, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
  • Drain off most of the fat in the pan. Return the pan to the heat, stir in the flour and paprika, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth, wine, and tomatoes and their juices, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tomato paste, chili sauce, Worcestershire, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  • Position two racks in the oven, one in the bottom third and the other in the center. Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Spoon in the filling, and smooth with a spoon. Bake on the lower oven rack until the crust begins to brown, about 25 minutes.

Make the topping

  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes with enough well-salted water to cover by a couple of inches. Add the peas. Bring to a boil, then cook at a low boil until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then transfer back to the saucepan. Add the softened butter, sour cream, and about half of the milk. Using a hand masher, mash thoroughly, adding more milk as needed to make a not-too-loose mixture. (If the mash is too loose, it could spread and fall off the pie.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the potatoes.
  • After 25 minutes, remove the pie from the oven. Spoon a generous mound of the mashed potatoes over the surface. Drizzle with the melted butter, then sprinkle with some of the Parmigiano. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F. Put the sheet on the center oven rack and continue to bake until the cheese is golden and the pie is bubbly, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for at least 25 minutes before serving.


The filling should be thoroughly cooled before adding it to the pie shells so that the heat of the filling doesn’t melt the butter in thepastry before the crust has a chance to set in the oven.


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Reviews (6 reviews)

  • butta211 | 05/20/2019

    Just a heads up, there is a note at the head of the recipe that says you can mix the peas into the mash or the pie itself, so don't panic, everyone : )
    Second time making it and its delicious as always. I didn't change a thing although next time I might change out the peas with some sauteed mushrooms. I think the brown sugar is to offset the acidity with the tomatoes so if it was too sweet you can probably use a little less but I wouldn't eliminate completely IMHO.

  • NanaElaine | 03/13/2019

    I too left out the brown sugar, mixed the frozen peas into the filling
    and used lamb (shepherds do not guard cows) because with beef, it is a Cottage Pie.

  • user-7078291 | 05/28/2018

    I made this for dinner today. My Mom saw the recipe in the magazine and I agreed to give it a try for her.

    I misread the butter/shorting ratio in the pastry recipe and used equal amounts of butter and shortening. It was still an excellent pie crust. I think it just might be the best I have ever made.

    Regarding the filling, I found it too sweet and not really "beefy".

    I too was confused by the peas. I just put them on top of the filling in the shell and then layered the hot potatoes on top. I didn't even bother to cook them. I figured they would cook in the oven and they did.

    I will probably make this again, but, next time I'm leaving out the brown sugar.

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