Shepherd’s Pie with Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Just so you know, I never properly follow instructions on any recipe.  Aside from baking sweets, I believe that recipes are only there to give you a rough skeleton of what you can do with certain ingredients.  I like to use intuition and common sense to decide how much of each ingredient to use.  So for the recipes I write out here, unless I find the quantity of a particular ingredient very important, I usually don’t bother adding quantities.  Missing an ingredient? just make one up as a substitute!  or add whatever additional ingredients that you’d feel would be good with the recipe!  whatever you do, just don’t do what Shawn does and put mozzarella cheese in place of hard boiled eggs… that… just… does… not… work.


  • Cooked ground beef (I used vegetarian ground beef because Shawn does not eat meat.)
  • Diced celery
  • Chopped onions
  • Sweet Peas
  • Dried Basil
  • Potatoes (I like to use Yukon Gold because it has a nice sweet taste to it)
  • Salted Butter (or Margarine)
  • Broth (any kind, meat or veggie)
  • Minced Garlic
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Milk

Shepherd’s Pie consists of 1) a bottom layer containing the veggies and meat and 2) a top layer consisting of mashed potatoes.

*Note: if you aren’t using vegetarian minced meat, please make sure you drain the oil from the cooked minced meat before starting.*

STEP 0: That’s right! Step 0!  Which really means, the step you should really do first to make your life easier by the end of this recipe!

  • Place washed potatoes into a pot of water and allow to boil until soft throughout.

*You can peel the skin, but you lose a lot of the potatoes’ taste to the water if you boil the potatoes with skin off.  I prefer leaving the skins on.  Plus the skin contains a lot of nutrients and fiber.  Nothing wrong with that!

STEP 1: Making the “Bottom Layer”

  • In a frying pan, saute some minced garlic until cooked and fragrant enough to kill vampires.
  • Add the rest of the veggies (onion, celery and peas) and saute until onions are soft.
  • Add the cooked minced meat and mix it up with the veggies.
  • Add some dried basil and toss.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste if necessary.
  • Place mixture onto a baking pan and spread evenly to cover the bottom.
  • Allow mixture to bake in oven at 350 while you make the mashed potatoes.  I’m assuming your potatoes are already sitting in boiling water ready to be mashed.

*I added a tiny bit of broth in this step while sauteing the meat and veggies because 1) I had it lying around and 2) it will help make the bottom layer moist.

STEP 2: Making the Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes (“Top Layer”)

  • Assuming you did Step 0 and the potatoes are now cooked and soft throughout: drain water from potatoes and place your potatoes in your favourite mashing bowl.
  • Add butter to the potatoes and mash.  Add just enough butter so that the potatoes aren’t dry, but not dripping with oil.
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese to your liking, and mash.
  • Add a bit of milk and mash.  I needed to add milk because the Parmesan cheese makes the potatoes dry.
  • All mashed up and good?  Take the bottom layer out from the oven and spread the mashed potatoes over the meat layer so that it is evenly covered.
  • Place the creation into the oven and bake at 350 until the mashed potatoes start to develop a golden brown colour.

I’d post a picture but the lighting is bad and my phone sucks at pictures.  I realize how much “words” are in this recipe.  I promise my future recipe posts will be clearer to follow.


2 Responses to “Shepherd’s Pie with Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes”

  1. 1 basia January 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    This sounds good – I wonder if it would work without any dairy in the top layer? Like if I just mashed potatoes and added a little bit of margarine or something? Do you place anything over the potato layer? Next time, i want photos!! 🙂

    • 2 k1027iwi January 7, 2010 at 12:53 am

      Yup! this dish will work just as well without any dairy in the top layer. Initially I was only going to mash the potatoes with a bit of margarine, but I had lots of cheese lying around so I thought I’d change things a little bit and be experimental. Shawn’s a good guinea pig 🙂

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