Shepherd's Pie in a Cast Iron Pan
Growing up in Ireland, we had shepherds pie on a regular basis. Although to be called Shepherd’s pie it would traditionally made with ground lamb, mum made ours with ground beef on the stove. Many times this is called Cottage Pie. It was SOOO good (like melt in your mouth good), she always made it with real homemade mashed potatoes and lots of Irish butter. The ultimate comfort food.
Sometimes she would make it in individualized dishes, which meant a bigger helping for everyone. I loved putting the light on in the oven and watching the creamy mashed potatoes lightly brown.
The version we are talking about today, is also known as a “Cottage Pie,” and is also prepared with ground beef.
Cast Iron Skillet Shepherd's Pie Recipe - Mashed Potato Ingredients
2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4-5 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Water, to cover
½ c. chicken stock
¼ c. heavy cream
3 T. unsalted butter
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Ingredients for the Beef Mixture
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ lbs. ground beef
1 cup beef broth
2 t. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium onion chopped
¾ c. frozen peas, thawed
1¼ c. sliced frozen carrots, thawed
Recipe Instructions for Ground Beef and Mashed Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put oil into a heated cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Use medium heat, or medium high heat.
- Add onions and saute’ until translucent.
- Add beef, rosemary, Worschester, salt and pepper. Brown beef, chopping into small bits. Simmer until sauce begins to thicken.
- Peel potatoes and boil until soft. Put in a bowl and mash.
- Add chicken stock, heavy cream, and butter to the boiled potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and mash with a hand masher or whip with a hand mixer until smooth. If necessary, add a little extra chicken broth to reach the desired consistency. Set aside.
- Evenly spread the thawed peas, and carrots across the browned ground beef in the cast iron skillet. Top the meat mixture with an even layer of the mashed potato topping and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with some smoked paprika.
- Place the skillet in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, or until heated through and the potatoes are nicely browned on top. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve immediately garnished with fresh chives. Enjoy!
Dutch Oven Campfire Alternative
For a fun campsite alternative, you can make shepherd’s pie using your Dutch oven. The trick here is to pre-make the mashed potatoes. You can use your own mashed potato recipe, bake them in foil over the coals, or use leftover mashed potatoes.
Dutch oven shepherd’s pie is made in a similar way to the above recipe. Just cook the meat and other ingredients right in the Dutch oven, and then cover with the mashed potatoes brushed with butter. Cook over about 8 coals with 12 coals on the lid. It should take about an hour. The potatoes should be golden brown.
Some Simple Alternatives
There are some simple alternatives that you can use with this recipe to make your own delicious shepherd’s pie:
Store bought mashed potatoes, or instant may be used.
To thicken the sauce, you may add a tablespoon of tomato paste.
We often use ground turkey instead of beef for the ground meat.
Add a tablespoon or so of minced garlic (or garlic powder if need be) to the meat to add a bit of zest.
Frozen mixed vegetables may be used instead of canned.
When nearly cooked you can sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, or your favorite shredded cheese.
If you have been following us for a while, you know that we are all about easy recipes that don’t require lots of ingredients and are easy to make!
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This is quickly becoming one of our favorites because it’s a great meal that fills everyone up after a day of hiking and sightseeing. My picky daughter will even eat this (minus the onions) because it’s beef and it’s covered with mashed potatoes! )