Single Serving Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate in adaptable comfort food. You can increase the amounts in the recipe to make it for a crowd. Or you can make it as a single serving dinner for as few as 1 or as many as you have large ramekins or small oven-proof bowls. Basically meat and vegetables covered by mashed potatoes, it requires only variety in the ingredients and ingenuity in the way you combine them.
You can use leftovers to make Single Serving Shepherd’s Pie, or if you have none around, you can pull it together with fresh and frozen food. Last year at about this time, I posted a Shepherd’s Pie recipe that feeds 6. Today’s version fed one hungry guy last night. I went out with girlfriends and left the Shepherd’s Pie for my husband, figuring that he would appreciate a warm dinner and a cold beer on a blustery night.
This morning, when I asked him how he liked the Shepherd’s pie he smiled broadly and gave me a kiss. I figure that counts as at least 4 stars, maybe 5.
To see how easy it is to make this Single Serving Shepherd’s Pie, check out the video:
Single Serving Shepherd’s Pie
Serving – 1 large portion Cost – $4-5
- 4 ounces of cooked hamburger, meatloaf or other beef (or cook fresh chopped meat) cut into small pieces, shredded, or mashed. I had a chunk of meatloaf from dinner the night before that worked perfectly. The bacon is a nice touch, but less important when you use well-seasoned meat like I did. If you use fresh chopped meat, the bacon or other seasonings become more crucial.
- 2 strips bacon (optional if meat is already seasoned or if you add other seasonings)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced fresh “hard” vegetables (combination of onion, carrot, celery, pepper, and/or whatever else you have on hand)
- ½ cup frozen vegetables (I used peas and corn.)
- 2 teaspoons flour
- ½ cup beef stock
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme. If you use unseasoned meat and no bacon, consider adding other herbs too, such as rosemary and/or sage.
- Several dashes of freshly ground pepper
- Dash – ¼ teaspoon salt, depending on how saltiness of your meat, bacon and beef stock
- ¾ cup mashed potatoes (If you are making the mashed potatoes from scratch, you’ll need a few red or Yukon gold potatoes and a dab of sour cream or mayonnaise. It’s easy to turn them into mashed potatoes, as I did in the earlier Shepherd’s Pie recipe.)
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon grated hard cheese (I used Romano – parmesan or cheddar would also work.)
- Several dashes of sweet or smoked paprika (for topping)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- If your meat is not leftover, cook it and set aside.
- Chop the fresh vegetables. I used a combination of onion, carrot, celery, red pepper, and green beans. The only requirement is that the vegetables be “hard” (not tomato or leafy like spinach) and that they be chopped in small, relatively uniform bits about the size of the frozen vegetables – peas and corn kernels in my case.
- Cook the bacon. When done, drain the fat into a can and dry the bacon on a paper towel, crumbling it in the towel once it has cooled down.
- Add the tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, let it heat up slightly, then add the fresh vegetables. Cook them for 3-5 minutes, stirring semi-regularly until they are crisp but beginning to cook through.
- Add the flour and stir frequently for 2 minutes, until the flour is incorporated and cooked. In a few minutes, the flour will thicken the broth and water, a variation on the method used in making gravy. But first it has to cook, so there is no raw flour taste in the pie.
- Heat the broth and water (I microwaved it for 1 minute on high) and add it to the vegetables. Stir until the vegetables are well-coated in a thick, almost-gravy.
- Add the cooked meat, the bacon and the frozen vegetables and cook on a low-medium heat for a few minutes, stirring until everything is combined and the frozen vegetables start to cook. Add the Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, along with salt and pepper to taste. Because I used seasoned meat loaf and bacon that already contained salt, I added almost none at this point.
- Spoon the mixture into the baking dish.
- Top with mashed potatoes, leaving the potato roughly spooned in (or make ridges with a fork) so that edges will brown as the Sheperd’s Pie bakes. Dot with the ½ tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with cheese and paprika.
- Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, until the top is browned and steam comes out when you insert a spoon down to the meat-and-vegetable mixture.
Even if the winds are howling outside, you’ll be warm and happy with this Shepherd’s Pie as your dinner.