Shepard’s Pie…Traditional & Halloween Style


The colorful, quintessential Irish dish! Served up hot anytime of year. Don’t let the length of this recipe fool you—it’s mostly ingredients and don’t let that fool you either because they are already likely in your pantry or freezer!

This traditional Irish recipe is complete, with no additional side dishes necessary, packed with flavor, very filling and extremely satisfying to the palate. Shepard’s Pie is normally served with Irish Soda Bread, but any of your favorite breads or rolls with do. Hmmm, how about my “Black Pepper, Nutmeg and Parsley Popovers” that will be posted this week? Sounds like a perfect pairing!  Also, imbibe in a nice stout or stem of wine; red or white—your pick.

Serves 4 healthy appetites!

photo source: couponclippingcook

*Potato Topping:

4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

4 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*In a hurry? Substitute a good quality instant potato mix! Make 3-4 servings; add milk in place of water & the remaining ingredients listed.

photo source: dailykitchen


4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips

2 medium onions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon sugar

1 pound ground beef, lamb, chicken or turkey or a combination. Vegetarian crumbles can also be used.

1 lb of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 (12-ounce) bottle light or dark beer

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Additional salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup grated Swiss or Cheddar


Potato topping: In a large saucepan add potatoes & garlic cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, until potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer potatoes & garlic to a large bowl. Add sour cream, 1/4 cup of milk, butter, beaten egg, salt & pepper, mash with potato masher by hand. Adding remaining 1/4 cup milk as needed. Cover & set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 10-inch round, square or rectangle baking dish with nonstick spray.


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned & crisp. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add onions to bacon drippings with 1/2 teaspoon salt, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft & just beginning to brown. Sprinkle in sugar, cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to caramelize. Stir in ground meat, cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat, until meat begins to brown. Add thawed, frozen vegetables & garlic, cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in ketchup & flour and cook, stirring, until well blended. Add beer & Worcestershire sauce bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Add cooked bacon, salt & pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat & simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.

Spoon meat mixture into prepared baking dish. Spread potato topping evenly over meat mixture. Bake until filling is hot, topping is lightly browned & edges are bubbly, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Let rest out of oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Want to make this in advance? Put everything together, refrigerate until needed and pop in the oven @ 375* for 45 minutes. 

Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Clever Halloween Idea! photo source: mormommavens

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Ok we need a love it button here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol! Oh Mary! It’s SO good! I promise to make it for you one day soon. Thanks so much for commenting!


  2. Bill says:

    Shepherds Pie seems to be a universal version of simple peasant cooking blessed with a multitude of origins. It is cooked, in various guises in S. America, Quebec, S. Africa and Europe. I guess the Irish, or English, and even Scottish claiments would all be correct in their way, though I feel they may have to get in line with so many other similar variations around the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bill, Yes it is! It’s a very diverse dish indeed! The only universal similarity is that no matter the origin mashed potatoes are always the topping. Thanks so much for your comment; always so informative. Cheers!


  3. Oh Lana, those ghost mashed potatoes are beyond adorable!!! I can just see the children’s eyes light up once they are served at the table 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marisa! So true! And my hubby the “big kid’s” eyes lit up too lol! 🙂


      1. lol….yes they are big kids at heart 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lynz!I I see you did a Shepard’s pie as well! Great minds think alike 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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