The best Shepherd’s Pie Ever

It’s all about Worcestershire & wine.

Making Shepherd’s Pie - before the potatoes
Shepherd’s Pie before adding mashed potatoes on top.


  • olive oil
  • 3-4 carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or any peas)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (Earth Balance if you’re dairy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 glass red wine (that means 6-8 ounces – drink the rest!)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • mashed potatoes (an excellent use for left-overs)
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
  • parmesan cheese (optional)


  • Sauté carrots in olive oil until soft.
  • Add onions and cook for a minute, then add meat and cook until brown. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
  • Season with black pepper and thyme. It’s better with fresh thyme, if you’ve got it.
  • Add butter and peas – let butter melt.
  • Sprinkle flour in and stir it through – this will thicken the gravy.
  • Add tomato paste, Worcestershire and wine.
  • Let it reduce slightly then add chicken broth. Simmer this and let it reduce down to a gravy that you’re happy with.
  • Spray oil a 9×13 baking dish (or use butter or something so it doesn’t stick) and add your meat-sauce.
  • Cover with mashed potatoes. You can brush the beaten egg onto the potatoes for a crisp top, and add cheese if you like.
  • Bake about 20 minutes in a pre-heated 400-degree oven.


A note about wine:

Any red wine will do, but I also like to drink the stuff sometimes, so I use a big, bold cab. Typically, Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon or 14 Hands cab – they’re not too expensive and they’re good. I’ve also used Bogle’s Phantom and it’s not my favorite in this dish, even though it’s a nice, slightly spicy, red zin blend I enjoy. Also, I can’t always find it.