Skillet Shepherd’s pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one-pot. With a hearty beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.
Today we’re making some skillet shepherd’s pie. It’s a slight twist to the classic casserole for those that want to enjoy this comfort food in smaller portions. This will be called cottage pie or shepherd’s pie or used interchangeably, depending on where you are in the world. In the US, the version with ground beef is often called Shepherd’s pie, even in English and Scottish-themed pubs. So whether you use ground beef or lamb/mutton and whatever you choose to call it, please enjoy the food.
I’ve never really had a recipe for it up until now. It was just something I perfected over the course of a decade, adding a few things here and there and tweaking it to my tastes. One year I decided to beef up the meat base by adding some Bovril. Bovril is next to impossible to find in the US so I substituted it with Better than Bouillon or Marmite. Another year, I decided to add a cheesy middle layer with tons of cheddar. Lastly, I focused on the mashed potatoes by adding a bit of chives, fluffing them up for texture and then finishing it off with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
I’ve even made tiny little cute appetizer versions of these with these mini Shepherd’s pot pies. For more comfort food, try some other casseroles, slow cookers meals and soups and stews. Some comfort food reader favorites are meatball pasta bake, spinach and artichoke ravioli bake, sour cream beef noodle casserole, Mississippi pot roast, and slow cooker beef and cheese pasta.
SKILLET SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE TIPS
As mentioned earlier, I used to make a super beefy version before with a flavor concentrate like Bovril, Marmite, or Vegemite. But since that stuff is so hard to find, here’s an approachable recipe using regular beef bouillon cubes or the equivalent in a concentrate like Better than Bouillon. You should be able to find both in your regular grocery stores.
And with the exception of making the mashed potatoes, it’s all done in one skillet. If you want to skip making mashed potatoes from scratch, this also works well with the instant kind for those short on time. I won’t tell! Back to the recipe, you brown the beef, simmer the fillings, layer it and bake it all in the skillet.
So it’s good to use that cast iron skillet of yours, something I really like playing with lately. Sure it’s a lot of maintenance with the constant oil rub down after every use, but I think it’s worth it. Since most of the cooking will be done on the stove, not much time is needed in the oven. It’s mostly to brown the mashed potatoes and give it a nice crusty yumminess.
I like to take a fork and tease the mashed potatoes into small waves. The textures really show when it’s browned and they turn out super crispy. Mr. Cooking Jar said it looked like a coconut cream pie with a surprise beef filling! All you need to do is use the tines of the fork and sort of pull it upwards at the end of each stroke.
The messier it looks, the more texture and crisp-to-potato ratio you’ll get once it’s done baking. So take that fork and fluff the mashed potatoes layer until you have hills and craters everywhere. Go nuts!
And that’s about it. You can also do this in a casserole dish for the standard shepherd’s pot pie casserole, but today we are doing this in a cast iron skillet. So bring out your cast iron skillet and let’s get cooking!