Whether you’re looking for easy comfort food or a quick weeknight meal any time of the year, Skillet Shepherd’s Pie fits the bill. A quick take on classic Shepherd’s Pie, this skillet version has a short list of ingredients and cooks up in about 45 minutes, start to finish.
Cooking the Shepherd’s Pie in a heavy-bottomed skillet and using freezer hash browns helps to get this tasty dinner on the table fast. Rich gravy thickens quickly with the ground meat (use beef or even lamb) and onions, and frozen peas and carrots require no work at all.
What is Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s Pie, sometimes called Cottage Pie is a meat pie, often made using leftover meat, covered with a layer of potatoes, usually mashed. This recipe started from one of my Cook’s Country magazines with a few minor changes and we’ve enjoyed it so many times since. Shepherd’s Pie is said to have originated from the United Kingdom.
The gravy for this recipe is super flavorful and thickens in no time. A little flour is added into the beef and onion mixture before adding broth and other seasonings. This ensures that the flour browns up just enough to remove any pasty, metallic taste that can happen if flour is just added straight into the broth. Fresh thyme adds just the right earthy bite, and the broth is enhanced with a little tomato paste and Worchestershire. Frozen peas and carrots are thawed and tossed in just before the potato topping, in this case- thawed, frozen shredded potato hash browns.
After the mixture has thickened and the vegetables are tossed in, simply layer the hash browns over the top and brush with melted butter. Just a few minutes under the broiler and it comes out golden and ready to serve.
After all that’s said, I do have to add my own disclaimer here that might apply to you as well. I do not care for frozen carrots. Yes, I added them in the recipe but I fished out the carrots from my portion and left them. I think frozen carrots can’t compare to freshly cooked so… If I’m not in a hurry, I dice fresh carrots and saute’ them in butter or water until softened and then toss them with frozen peas. The rest of my family liked it with the frozen carrots, but when cooked with fresh, they have to agree with me that the flavor is over-the-top better. You might not want to add the time this extra step will take, but if you have the time, dice two or three carrots into bite-sized pieces and simmer in a tiny bit of butter or water with a dash or salt, covered until soft. Then prepare as usual.
I hope you like this “quickie” St. Patrick’s Day dinner, excellent any time when you want a hearty meal but don’t want all the mess or have all the time for a leisure meal. But when you do have time, be sure to try my Emerald Isle Corned Beef Dinner. It’s worth the time, but is still super easy for guaranteed success. If you love these kind of easy casserole-type dishes, be sure to check out All Free Casserole Recipes for more inspiration.
Save Skillet Shepherd’s Pie to your “Main Dish” board and let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’d love to share tasty recipes with you.
Skillet Shepherd's Pie
- 1 30- oz. bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes about 8 cups
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and divided
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
- 1 onion chopped fine
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots mix thawed
- Note about frozen potatoes: Be sure to use shredded frozen potatoes, not diced. Shredded will crisp up to golden much quicker
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Wrap tightly with plastic and microwave until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes.
- While potatoes are cooking, cook beef and onion in large heatproof skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain beef mixture in colander.
- Return drained beef mixture to pan. Stir in thyme and flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, tomato paste, and Worcestershire. Cook until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in pea and carrot medley and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
- Scatter cooked potatoes over beef mixture and brush with remaining butter. Broil until potatoes are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve.
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.