View Large Image NJPerkins

(The Official Sky Manor Website)  View Large Image

Shepherd's Pie

Adapted from a few sources, I like this recipe because you cook most of the ingredients in a big skillet/pot and then slide the whole thing in the oven to finish it off.  Rachel Ray gave me the idea for that method.  It is a new staple in our house.

I have settled into using 4 specific pots for this which I like to have ready and waiting:

  • 6 Qt oven safe pot or chef's skillet.
  • 3 Qt pot for instant mashed potatoes.
  • 2.5 Qt pot for stock/gravy.
  • Small saucepan for the four/butter roux.


  • 2 lbs ground beef, turkey or any meat.
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 lbs fresh or frozen veggies of choice
  • 2 cups stock or broth - your preference
  • 2 lbs or 16 servings of [instant] mashed potatoes.
  • Whatever salt, milk, and butter/margarine called for to make the above.
  • 1/4 cup each of flour and butter for roux
  • poultry seasoning, pickapeppa or other spicy sauce, wasabi sauce, pepper - all of these are to taste and optional.
  • about 2 cups shredded cheese.
Main Photo
 Shepherd's Pie - Out of the oven and served up!


This is a VERY flexible recipe... in fact it is more of a framework than a recipe.  See the notes below on meat, veggies, potatoes and seasonings to see what I mean.  This dish can be both delicious and different every single time you make it, or you can settle on your own favorite combination.

  • Start by browning the meat and onions in the 6 QT pot.  For a Thanksgiving Day flavor, add a few tablespoons of poultry seasoning and pepper to taste.  If you are a fan of Marvin's seasoning mixture, a few tablespoons of that can be added as well.
  • Add in the bite-sized veggies of your choice.  In the rendition pictured above, I used 1 lb of frozen pepper pieces and 1 lb of frozen corn, both from the garden.  Mixed veggies, frozen or cut up into bite size chunks will work.  Just use whatever appeals to you.
  • While browning the meat and mixing in the veggies, heat your stock or broth in another pot.  If you have turkey or chicken broth (with or without giblets) that also gives it a Thanksgiving Day flavor.
  • Similarly, if you are using instant mashed potatoes (that's what I do) you will want to get them going so they are ready for when all the other ingredients have been combined.  I like to add a teaspoon or two of pepper, pickapeppa sauce and wasabi sauce to give the potatoes a little kick.
  • Mix the flour and butter in the small saucepan to create a roux that will be used to thicken the stock/broth gravy.  Once combined nicely, stir it into the stock/broth and keep stirring until the mixture thickens to gravy consistency.  Add pepper and more of the same seasonings used elsewhere in this recipe to taste.
  • When the meat and veggies are cooked to your liking in the big pot, add the stock/broth gravy to the mixture.
  • Once the potatoes are done, even out the mixture in the big pot and spread the potatoes over the top similar to frosting a cake, except with a much thicker layer of creamy potatoes.
  • Finally, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and optionally sprinkle Marvin's on top of that.
  • Pop the whole pot into a 425° oven until the cheese melts and slightly browns, about 10 minutes.


About the Meat, Veggies, Potatoes and Seasonings in This Recipe


One of the original recipes I used called for either ground Turkey or leftover Turkey to make it a Thanksgiving Day leftovers recipe.  However, virtually ANY meat would work.  Ground beef, stew or stir fry meet, bacon (well maybe not 2 pounds, but it could be mixed in), pork or whatever you fancy.  I have even used a mixture of Canadian bacon and Hickory Farms summer sausage.  You need only adjust your cooking technique and times accordingly. 

Mashed Potatoes

The first recipe I saw called for 2 lbs of mashed potatoes.  Rachel Ray used 2 big sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed.  Now I have never been a big fan of instant mashed potatoes, but I have decided that this is the absolute perfect place to use them.  The brand I purchased had 6.4 oz packets that were supposedly 8 servings of 2/3 cup each.  I used two of them, which then called for a stick of butter and 2 cups of milk after the potatoes were stirred into about 2 Qts of water that had been brought to a boil, combined with the butter, and removed from the heat.  If you prefer using mashed potatoes cooked from scratch, that is of course fine, but I don't have those instructions here.


Here at Sky Manor, we are usually blessed with a variety of garden fresh or frozen vegetables to choose from. Often, I'll just go down to the freezer and see what's on the upper levels.  Rachel used carrots and peas, I used peppers and corn this time.  Any mixture of vegetables in any form... frozen, fresh, canned... will work.  Again, you just need to experiment with your cooking times and methods to bring whatever you choose to the proper degree of doneness.  The point is, make it your own or use what you have on hand because almost everything works!


The main requirement for this recipe is poultry seasoning and pepper, which helps give it the Thanksgiving Holiday flavor.  In addition, since we like spicy in this house, I also use Marvin's spice liberally, along with pickapeppa sauce, which is has been a standing favorite of mine since I hooked up with a group of musicians from Louisiana back in the '80s.  If you were to compare it to something, I guess it would be A-1 sauce.  It can be found in most grocery stores.  Look for a small bottle with a parrot on it.

In addition to those spices, I found wasabi sauce at the grocery store, and since my first introduction to wasabi mashed potatoes at the local Frenchtown Inn, I always enjoy an opportunity to mix the two flavors.  As with most of my seasoning usage, I rarely measure.  Impress your friends and family, just guess!  The exact quantity is not as important as the choice of which to use.  You can always keep track and take notes for later if you end up with something you think is perfect precisely the way it is.