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How to Make Shepherd's Pie Using "America's Test Kitchen" Recipe

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Shepherd's pie, so very good!

Shepherd's pie, so very good!

America’s Test Kitchen Shepherd’s Pie

This was my very first attempt at making a shepherd's pie. I have been watching America's Test Kitchen on PBS for about a year and have learned so much from their show, I really trust their findings. This is my attempt at making their streamlined, easier and faster version of traditional shepherd's pie. There are a few ingredients that I have substituted with what I had on hand at home. For instance, I did not use scallions or an onion, I just used green onions. The top (green) part of the onion I used in the mashed potatoes. The "onion" part was what I browned with the mushrooms instead of a whole, larger onion. I also use only olive oil in my house, so I replaced the generic vegetable oil with an extra light olive oil. America's Test Kitchen used 2 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes, which I also did this first time. However, that really is a lot of potatoes and they almost did not fit in my 10" pan. I think 2 pounds would be adequate and would still cover the pie well. I really hope you enjoy this delicious dish!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

1 hour

1 hour 30 min

serves 6 to 8


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, 93% lean
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, original recipe called for 2 1/2 lbs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt and pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 lg egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 green onions, original recipe called for scallions
  • 2 tsp olive oil, original recipe just called for vegetable
  • 4 oz white mushrooms, rinsed and diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Shiraz wine, original recipe called for port
  • 2 tbsp flour, all purpose, I use unbleached
  • 10 oz beef broth
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp thyme, original recipe asked for fresh, I had dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup carrots, sliced thin
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, (which I forgot)


  1. Use 93% lean ground beef so that the pie is not too greasy. To keep the hamburger from becoming rubbery in the dish, it should be tenderized. This is done by dissolving 1/2 tsp baking soda in 2 tbsp of water. Add this to the ground beef. Add a tsp of salt and a 1/2 tsp of black pepper to season and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Wash, peel and cut 2 pounds of russet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Place cut potatoes into large pan and cover them with water. Fill the pan about an inch above the potatoes. Boil for about 8 minutes. Test for doneness, then drain and put back into pan. Place back onto the stove and heat for about another minute or so to remove excess moisture. Melt 4 tbsp of butter and add to potatoes. Mix egg yolk and half cup of milk together in separate dish then add to potatoes and mash in. Salt and pepper to taste. Add greens from green onion. Cover and set aside.
  3. Brown mushrooms and onions, salt and pepper in olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat that can also go into the broiler (mine are all cast iron). Cook this down about 5-6 minutes, then add 1 tbsp of tomato paste and minced galic. After about 2 minutes, add the wine and scrape the browned bits off the bottom. Cook this about a minute until the wine burns off then add the flour, blend and add beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Add the carrots, thyme and bay leaf also and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the beef in about 2-inch chunks. Cover and cook this for about 10-12 more minutes, until beef is cooked through, breaking beef apart halfway through cooking. Remove bay leaf. This is when you add the cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tsp of water), however, I forgot this step and it still turned out phenomenal.
  4. Place the potatoes in a large plastic bag, twist and cut a corner off to make a piping bag. Pipe these onto the pie as evenly as possible and the even them out with a spatula. Run a fork over the potatoes in a curvy pattern to make a really pretty design when it is complete. Place under the broiler for about 8-10 minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving and enjoy an awesome shepherd's pie!
Truly a beautiful dinner and a very tasty one

Truly a beautiful dinner and a very tasty one