Easy Shepherd’s Pie

This easy shepherd’s pie recipe transforms a budget-friendly “poor man’s stew” into a comforting, hearty dish using ground chuck, canned vegetables, and tomato soup, topped with mashed potatoes and cheese. It’s a simple, satisfying meal that brings classic flavors to the table without breaking the bank.

When I first made this easy shepherd’s pie, my daughter was small and I was not working outside the home. It was a great meal and cheap too. 

The recipe consisted of three ingredients and the mashed potatoes were served on the side of what I called this meal: “poor man’s stew”. In recent years, I have tweaked this into an easy shepherd’s pie recipe.

It is considered comfort food in my household and remains budget-friendly. A traditional shepherd’s pie is made with lamb.

It consists of meat and vegetables and is topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven. My version is made with ground chuck or hamburger. 

And instead of fresh vegetables, I use a can of “Veg-All”. I live in a rural area and fresh vegetables in certain seasons can be hard to obtain.

Frozen vegetables were an option but the recipe I had called for a can of mixed vegetables. Plus the canned vegetables were so much easier on the budget.

Add a can of tomato soup and voila! You had a hearty, cheap “stew”. 

In my family, we ate mashed potatoes alongside this “stew” for a filling meal.

What Started Out as “Poor Man’s Stew”

A photograph of a hearty serving of shepherd's pie on a plate

1 pound of ground chuck/hamburger meat browned in a skillet. Drain the grease from the meat and add 1 can of tomato soup and I can “Veg-All”. 

Add 1/8 to 1/4 c sugar (optional) and salt and pepper to taste. I add sugar to any dish that has tomatoes in it.

But you can leave the sugar out if you want to. Mashed potatoes served on the side and you have a cheap but satisfying meal. 

It was also a way to get my daughter to eat vegetables! In later years I have adapted this “stew” into a shepherd’s pie. 

My Version of Shepherd’s Pie

Brown the meat in a skillet with the chopped onion. Once browned, drain the grease from the meat and add the spices, tomato soup, and the can of mixed vegetables. 

Mix well. Add this mixture to a 2-3 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  

Shepherd's pie

Meanwhile, peel and quarter 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (about 4-5 large potatoes) and cook covered with water until tender. This usually takes 20 -25 minutes. 

I add salt to the potatoes while they are cooking. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and mash with an electric beater with a couple of tablespoons of milk. 

Add 1/4 c sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.

Stirring mince and onions

Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture covering the meat completely. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. 

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown. 

My Final Thoughts

A close-up photo of shepherd's pie
  • The recipe evolved from a simple “poor man’s stew” to a comforting shepherd’s pie, showing the adaptability of home cooking.
  • Ground meat and canned vegetables are used for convenience and budget, reflecting rural living challenges.
  • The dish is versatile, served originally as a stew with mashed potatoes or combined as a pie.
  • Cooking involves browning meat, adding vegetables and soup, topping with mashed potatoes, and baking.
  • The recipe is a testament to creating satisfying meals on a budget, encouraging culinary experimentation.

You don’t have to spend loads of money to put a tasty meal on the table. You can be inventive and may end up with a winner.

There are also times you may end up with a flop as well. But you never know. 

Using the right combination of spices or herbs can add flavor to an otherwise “dull” meal. Go here to see the difference between spices and herbs and some of their uses. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment. You just might end up with a winning combination.

You can serve this meal as it was originally intended, with the “stew” served with a side of mashed potatoes, or make it as a shepherd’s pie. Either way is a winner.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this simple meal. Have a wonderful day!

FAQ: Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Q1: What ingredients are used in the easy shepherd’s pie recipe?

  • Ground chuck or hamburger, canned mixed vegetables (like Veg-All), tomato soup, potatoes for mashing, milk, sour cream, and cheese for topping.

Q2: How do you make the easy shepherd’s pie?

  • Brown the meat with onions, drain the grease, then add the canned vegetables and tomato soup. Spread this mixture in a baking dish, cover with mashed potatoes mixed with milk and sour cream, top with cheese, and bake until golden brown.

2 thoughts on “Easy Shepherd’s Pie”

    • Hi Tabatha, it was a meal I made a lot when my kids were smaller because it was cheap. Only later did I start making it with the mashed potatoes and cheese on top. Let me know if you make it and if you liked it.


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