I made Ina Garten’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe – it was easy and delicious

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I tried Ina Garten’s easy recipe for Shepherd’s Pie.

ina garten shepherds pie ingredients

Ingredients for the recipe for Ina Garten’s shepherd’s cake.

Erin McDowell/Insider

I’m Irish-American, but I don’t recall ever having Shepherd’s Pie before. The dish is traditional in the countryside, dating back to the late 17th century when peasant women prepared the dish to reuse leftovers from the week’s Sunday roast dinner.

However, shepherd’s pie has certainly found its way to the States. While Irish versions typically favor the use of lamb, many American versions use ground beef or turkey instead.

I decided to give Ina Garten’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe a try, which calls for ingredients like carrots, celery, white mushrooms, ground turkey, and homemade mashed potatoes.

I started by peeling my Yukon gold potatoes.

peeled red potatoes

Peeled Potatoes.

Erin McDowell/Insider

A bag of potatoes typically weighs about 5 pounds, but the recipe called for only 3 pounds of potatoes. I ended up finding this to be the perfect amount to completely cover the cake.

Then I chopped the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and placed them in a saucepan of water.

peeled and chopped red potatoes

Peeled and chopped potatoes.

Erin McDowell/Insider

I then boiled the potatoes until they were soft. This took about 20 minutes.

I used a time-saving hack to prep my veggies.

chopped vegetables in a small bowl

Chopped Vegetables.

Erin McDowell/Insider

The recipe called for finely diced carrots, celery and white mushrooms. I decided to use a food processor to lightly chop my veggies. I liked the end result and found this to be the easiest way to cook all the veggies in seconds.

I also hand chopped some mushrooms to add more texture.

chopped vegetables in a small bowl


Erin McDowell/Insider

After my veggies were cut, I set them aside in a small bowl and turned my attention to cooking the meat.

The recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of ground turkey, but feel free to get creative if you don’t want to use turkey.

Cook ground turkey in a pan

ground turkey.

Erin McDowell/Insider

You can use virtually any type of ground beef you’d like, or even plant-based ground beef if you’re a vegetarian. I ended up liking the choice of ground turkey as it made the very sticky meal a little lighter than if I had used higher fat meat.

I ended up using a packet and a half of ground turkey.

I then added chicken broth and cooked the mixture until fully combined and some of the liquid had evaporated.

Shepherd's pie filling in a large skillet

Shepherd’s Pie Filling.

Erin McDowell/Insider

I also added tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and frozen peas to the pan and continued to cook the filling until it was simmering.

After I finished the pie filling, I set about preparing my potatoes for baking.

Hand mashed potatoes in a black saucepan

Mash the potatoes by hand.

Erin McDowell/Insider

After draining the potatoes, I hand mashed them in the same pot I cooked them in. The recipe called for the use of a hand mixer, but I found a potato masher to be just as effective for making creamy mashed potatoes, especially after adding a mixture of whole milk, almost a knob of Kerry Gold butter, and sour cream.

I wanted a deep golden crust on the mashed potatoes, so I let the pie cook a little longer than the recipe suggested.

ina garten shepherd's pie

Ina Garten’s shepherd’s cake.

Erin McDowell/Insider

I baked the cake in the oven for about half an hour, although the recipe suggested it would be ready in 20 minutes.

All ovens can vary slightly depending on the cooking time, so I would suggest checking the dish until you are happy with the result.

When I served the cake it was hot and delicious. I would definitely make this recipe again for St. Patrick’s Day… or practically any other occasion.

ina garten shepherd's pie on a plate

Ina Garten’s shepherd’s cake.

Erin McDowell/Insider

It didn’t quite hold its shape, but I imagine it would if I’d let the cake sit for a minute or two before serving. However, I just couldn’t resist diving in.

The mashed potatoes were creamy, the filling was perfectly seasoned, and the veggies came through in a medley of flavors. It was simple enough to be appropriate for a winter weeknight meal, but impressive enough for a dinner party or even game day.

The recipe was also enough to feed at least four people, with plenty of leftovers. In my book, this traditional recipe got a thumbs up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *