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Grandma Estelle’s Shepard’s Pie

Updated February 23, 2016
(1 Votes)

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I had to ask. “Joyce, why do you jab the meat pie with a fork before baking?” “I don’t know,” she answered. “My mother told me to do it. When your mother tells you to do something, you do it.” After Aunt Estelle died, Joyce took over Friday night dinners. This dish was always the favorite of grandsons Eric, Marc, Warren, and David, and with all those growing boys at the table, Aunt Estelle usually made two. The “boys” are now men, but they’ve never outgrown it. Joyce swears she follows her mother’s recipe exactly, but Eric usually complains, “I like the way Grandma used to make it. Yours is too neat!”

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodbaking

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentfood mill

Mealdinner

Moodblue

Taste and Texturecreamy, meaty, savory

Type of Dishcasserole

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions (1¼ pounds total)
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • Kosher (coarse) salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground blade pepper, or to taste
  • 3 slices white bread
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare the mashed potato layer: Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover, lightly salt it, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently boil the potatoes until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put them through a ricer (preferred) or hand-mash them.

Strain the onions, reserving the oil. Puree the strained onions in a blender, and combine the puree with the mashed potatoes. Add about 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prepare the meat layer: Place the bread in a shallow bowl, add water to cover, and soak for 1 or 2 minutes. Then drain the bread, and using your hands, squeeze out the excess water. Crumble the bread into bits in a large bowl. Add the onion, ground beef, eggs, garlic, salt, and pepper, and mix together.

Spread about one third of the mashed potato mixture over the bottom of a 13 × 9-inch baking pan. Pat the meat mixture evenly over the potatoes; then cover it with the remaining mashed potatoes. Jab all over with a fork. (Don’t ask why.) Brush lightly with the reserved oil, and bake until the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are golden brown, about 1¼ hours. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Variation: This dish can be made using your own favorite meat loaf and/or mashed potato recipe.

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Dang, I didnt mean to leave the same comment multiple times! Oops! :-P

I made this recipe, but doctored it a bit. I made my mashed potatoes w sour cream, cream cheese, butter, salt & pepper, and then for the ground beef I added mushrooms, minced garlic, the bread, onion, green pepper, worcestershire, and my own seasonings. I layered w cheddar cheese and corn as well. It came out wonderful! Ty so much for the guidance! I had never made it before, and being one of my husbands fave. childhood dishes, he was very pleased!

I made this recipe, but doctored it a bit. I made my mashed potatoes w sour cream, cream cheese, butter, salt & pepper, and then for the ground beef I added mushrooms, minced garlic, the bread, onion, green pepper, worcestershire, and my own seasonings. I layered w cheddar cheese and corn as well. It came out wonderful! Ty so much for the guidance! I had never made it before, and being one of my husbands fave. childhood dishes, he was very pleased!

I made this recipe, but doctored it a bit. I made my mashed potatoes w sour cream, cream cheese, butter, salt & pepper, and then for the ground beef I added mushrooms, minced garlic, the bread, onion, green pepper, worcestershire, and my own seasonings. I layered w cheddar cheese and corn as well. It came out wonderful! Ty so much for the guidance! I had never made it before, and being one of my husbands fave. childhood dishes, he was very pleased!

I made this recipe, but doctored it a bit. I made my mashed potatoes w sour cream, cream cheese, butter, salt & pepper, and then for the ground beef I added mushrooms, minced garlic, the bread, onion, green pepper, worcestershire, and my own seasonings. I layered w cheddar cheese and corn as well. It came out wonderful! Ty so much for the guidance! I had never made it before, and being one of my husbands fave. childhood dishes, he was very pleased!

It doesn't really matter what it's called it's the recipe that counts! I've never heard of sliced bread and garlic in a shepherd's or a cottage pie! Nice try though!

Oh Good grief all you Recipe-name-Purists! Couldn't you just comment on the recipe and leave it at that? Good basic recipe, actually REALLY good. Never thought to make my shepherd's pie as more of a meatloaf-type dish. I added some peas and sauteed carrots as a layer, since I usually add them to the meat mixture in my usual recipe. Also threw in some parsley for a little color. Hmmmm, just noticed...the recipe name reads Aunt Estelle's SHEPARD's Pie, not Shepherd, as in a sheep herder, so anything goes!!

Perhaps I'm wrong, but shouldn't this dish be called "cottage pie" as it is made with beef? Thought shepards pie was used for lamb....at least in England, that's the way it works!

This comment is more about the recipe name than the recipe itself... The real home of this dish is the UK. There are two similar dishes: COTTAGE PIE is made with BEEF and SHEPHERD'S PIE is made with LAMB Both can be delicious and I am looking forward to trying this recipe for COTTAGE PIE!

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