Northwest Portland Hostel

Centrally Located – in the Heart of Portland

Kitchen Connection- Shepherd’s Pie!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kathrin, our intern from Germany, writes a guest blog post about cooking for hostellers!


During our last Kitchen Connection we cooked a Shepherd’s Pie…..for the first time!

We totaly entered unknown territory as we were from Germany.

We, that means: Laura, Ida and me, Kathrin.

And of course we were more exited, as we heard that nearly all participants were from Great Britain…..the one and only Shepherd’s Pie country 😉

For all who have never tried a Shepherd’s Pie, here is the recipe for approx. 14 persons:


For the potatoes:   

4½ pounds russet potatoes (about 3 big ones)
 ¾ cup milk (or vegetable broth)
6 ounces unsalted butter or margarine
2¼  teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the meat filling:

6 tablespoons canola oil
3 cup onions, diced
6 carrots, peeled and diced small
6 cloves garlic, minced
4½ pounds ground beef
3 teaspoon salt ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 teaspoons tomato paste
3 cup vegetable broth
6 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
3 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
3 cup fresh or frozen English peas            


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into ½ -inch dice. Place in pasta pot(s) and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with masher, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Dice the onions and carrots, and mince the garlic.
  3. Drain the potatoes (in a colander and then return to the saucepan). Mash the potatoes and then add the milk, butter/margarine, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Place 2 tablespoons canola oil into each frying pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add ⅓ of each the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add ⅓ of the garlic to each pan and stir to combine. Add 1½  pounds of minced beef in each pan, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour (2 tablespoons per pan) and stir to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Then add to each pan, 2 tablespoons, tomato paste,1 cup chicken broth 2 teaspoons rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  6. Once the sauce is thickened, add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into a 9×13 baking pan. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a salad.

For all the non meat eaters, we also made a vegetarian version…..just replace the meat with any vegetable you like.

We used zucchinis, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots and peas.

It needs its time, but it pays.

At the end we had one large meat Shepherd´s Pie and two small vegeterian Shepherd´s Pies.

Believe it or not, the pie was eaten up in a jiffy and we got standing ovationas for our cullinary skills.

Thanks to our english group who ate their meal so dutifully.

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