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My Favorite Shepherd’s Pie


You ever have one of those meals where you start with the intent of making one thing and end up with something totally different? I was going to make little savory hand pies AND potato, kale, and sausage soup… and somehow we ended up with Shepherd’s Pie once I got going.

Guys, it was awesome. My toddler was skeptical because this was a new food, but she finally tried one bite. Then I blinked and her plate was clean and she was saying, “I need some more of all of this, Mama.

shepherd's pie

The Ingredients: Why I don’t use low fat
Yes, some of the ingredients are rich (like pie crust and sausage), but we don’t eat like this everyday, so when we do, I use real ingredients because I don’t want weird low-fat thickeners and I want it to taste great. And it does – this is the best shepherd’s pie I’ve ever had.

The sausage is from a local farm and is incredibly lean – it only yielded 2 tsp. of fat when I cooked it. Feel free to sub ground pork, lamb, or turkey for some of the sausage if you prefer.

This recipe isn’t a fast one. I’ve made it so many times and always forget to keep track of how long it actually takes. If you can plan ahead, make as much as you can the day before – it’ll make assembling a breeze. You can keep a pie crust in the fridge, sauté the sausage and veggies, and prepare the mashed potatoes in advance.

shepherd's pie with sausage

Yield: a big pie

My Favorite Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie gets even more delicious with sausage, kale, and mushrooms.


1 pound of good-quality lean mild ground sausage
1 large white potato, unpeeled and diced**
2 carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. kale (about 6 large leaves), destemmed and finely chopped**
8 oz mushrooms, destemmed and chopped
2 T. butter
3 1/2 T. unbleached all purpose flour
1 c. cold stock (or cold water)
1 c. milk
salt and pepper

3 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp. butter
1/3 c. milk

1 pie crust recipe


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you sauté the sausage in a large skillet. Add the 3 peeled potatoes to the water and reduce to medium high.

2. Drain the sausage, reserving the fat, and scoop the sausage into a large bowl.

3. Add 1 tsp. sausage fat to the skillet and sauté the potatoes, carrots, celery,  and garlic over medium with the lid on for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Give it a stir every now and then, making sure to scrape the bottom.

4. Check your potatoes - drain if they're soft and reserve them for later.

5. Add the kale to the veggie mixture to wilt the leaves (about 1 minute).

6. Add the veggies to the sausage bowl and add one more teaspoon of fat to the skillet. Cook the mushrooms with a pinch of salt until golden brown. They'll release their juices and then begin to brown nicely. Add the mushrooms to the veggie/sausage mixture.*

7. Melt the butter in the skillet and then whisk in the flour. Pour a little bit of stock and milk at a time, whisking constantly (or you'll get lumps). When all the liquid has been added, stir into veggie mixture.

8. Smash the reserved potatoes along with the teaspoon of butter and 1/3 c. milk.

9. Line a lightly buttered pie dish with the rolled crust. Pour in the veggie/sausage mixture and top with spoonfuls of spread out mashed potatoes.

10. Bake at 375 until the top begins to turn golden brown and the crust looks done (about 30 minutes).

*Feel free to skip step 6 and sauté the mushrooms with the other vegetables to save time. The flavor and texture is better when they're cooked alone, but it's not terribly noticeable in a pie like this if you're pressed for time.



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