Winter Comfort Food: Shepherd's Pie

Wayne Johnson shares viewer's comfort food recipe

A few weeks ago I asked viewers for favorite comfort food recipes.  I’ve already shared two with you: Moroccan Chicken Tagine and Pasta Fagioli. 

Since it is still cold outside, I thought we should have one more hearty dish to keep the winter chills outside.  This Shepherd’s Pie recipe comes from an old friend of mine, Bill Kelleher.  He told me the dish was great with ground beef or lamb, so be sure to try it with both and see which one you like best.

Shepherd’s Pie
courtesy of Bill Kelleher


2 lbs Ground Beef or Lamb
Olive oil (optional)
2 Carrots, cleaned and chopped
1 Parsnip, cleaned and chopped
1 lg Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
4 tbl Butter
2 tbl Flour
1 cu Beef or Vegetable Broth
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
2lbs potatoes (half white and half sweet), peeled and cubed
1/2 cu Heavy Cream
2 tbl Cream Cheese, softened
1 tbl Sour Cream
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped for garnish


Brown the meat in a large saucepan over medium-high heat (if the meat is not very lean, you can sauté it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil).  Add the chopped carrots, parsnips, onion, and minced garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.

In another saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour until it's blended. Whisk in the broth and cook until mixture thickens into a gravy, about 3-5 minutes.  Pour the gravy into the meat mixture and stir to combine.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain.  Separately, mixed the cream, cream cheese, and sour cream together.  Add mixture to the potatoes with the ground nutmeg and whip until smooth. (If the potatoes are still a bit stiff, you can add more cream in small amounts).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon the meat mixture into a buttered, rectangular casserole. Spread the potatoes on top.  Bake it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes and then turn on the broiler to get a bit of a crust on the potatoes.

Sprinkle chopped parsley on top for a little color and serve.

Individual Servings

Another way to make this dish is to use individual oven safe ramekins.  Follow the same directions but divide the mixture between 6 medium sized ramekins. 

Thanks to Bill for sharing this recipe.  It’s quite tasty and definitely perfect for the cold nights that seem to just keep on coming.  If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at


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