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Shepherds Pie with Boneless Short Ribs OR Ground Beef

This savory, comforting Shepherd's Pie recipe elevates shepherd's (cottage pie) to a whole new level with melt in your mouth short ribs and Swiss Gruyere mashed potatoes!  This is guaranteed to be a new family favorite and is already one of Patrick's top 10!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings



  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes (4 large), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded SWISS Gruyère cheese, divided*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Beef and Vegetables

  • 2 lbs. boneless beef short ribs trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrot (approx. 3 med. carrots)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH dried oregano, dired parsly, paprika, salt, pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  • chopped fresh parsley


  • Beef: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • After trimming beef, toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper while still on the cutting board.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add beef and cook undisturbed for 3-5 minutes to brown on one side. Continue to cook, while stirring, for 5-7 minutes until nicely browned all over. Remove beef with a slotted spoon to baking dish and spread in a single layer. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees F.
  • Pour remaining juices from skillet into a 1 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to equal one cup ("Reserved Juices"). Set aside.
  • Vegetables:
    Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now empty skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add onions, carrot and celery; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle in flour and cook 1 1/2 minutes while stirring. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the 1 cup Reserved Juices, tomatoes, soy sauce, ketchup and all remaining seasonings/spices. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until thickened and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream. Set aside.
  • Potatoes: While vegetables are simmering, add potatoes to a large 5 quart saute pan/skillet and add water until it reaches about 1 inch up the sides. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until very tender; drain. Add potatoes to bowl of electric or hand held mixer.
  • Heat butter, heavy cream and milk for 1 1/2 minutes. Slowly stream heated butter/cream mixture into potatoes while beating until light and fluffy (but do not overbeat). Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and 3/4 teaspoons salt. Set aside.
  • Assemble: After meat has baked 30 minutes, remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Spread vegetable mixture evenly over beef in baking dish. Spoon potato mixture over vegetable mixture; spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  • Bake at 425 degrees F, uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until beef is tender and top of potatoes are golden.
  • Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes to set before serving. Top with freshly grated parsley.


*If you can't find Swiss Gruyere you may substitute Gruyere.

Ground Beef Option

  • Substitute boneless short ribs with 2 pounds lean ground beef and brown it with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  You will skip the step of cooking the meat in the oven by itself and go straight to layering the casserole with ground beef, your veggie mixture and potatoes and bake at 425 degrees F, uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until the top of potatoes are golden.


  • Meat:  You can use any protein such as lamb, lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, Italian Sausage, etc.
  • Meatless:  add in more veggies and cut the meat all together.  Use mushrooms, squash, eggplant, etc. in place of the meat.
  • Potatoes:  try mashed sweet potatoes for a great sweet and savory treat.  Or try a combination of Russet and sweet potatoes.
  • Vegetables: add corn, frozen peas, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms.
  • Topping: You can add herbs, panko, breadcrumb or a layer of cheese on top.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: use vegetable stock or vegan approved milk.  Also use vegan butter, milk and cream cheese in your mashed potatoes.
  • Gluten free:  omit the flour and instead whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch together with the diced tomatoes before adding it to the vegetables.   Use gluten free soy sauce or tamari.  Always check that all of your other ingredients are certified GF (like ketchup).


  • Prepare the recipe as written through assembling the Shepherd's Pie but do not bake.
  • Cover casserole tightly with foil and refrigerate.
  • Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking according to directions.


  • Shepherd’s pie will freeze well for 4 to 6 months if properly stored in airtight container.  The potatoes texture will change slightly.
  • You can bake frozen Shepherd's Pie directly from the freezer at 425 degrees F for one hour.  If you thaw the pie in the fridge the night before, you can cut that time in half.
  • To reheat from refrigerator bake at 425 degrees F, uncovered until warm through, approx. 25-30 minutes.