Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie with Brown Butter Potatoes
Love shepherd's pie? Me too! Especially this Mushroom Shepherd's Pie. It's full of mushrooms and your choice of ground meat (or vegetarian sub!) and topped with the most delicious brown butter potatoes. It's a healthy dinner recipe that is sure to please.
Do you see those mashed potatoes up there looking like some flaky pastry crust? Impersonator! In the best possible way, of course.
That potato crust beauty starts out its life as humble mashed potatoes. It comes into its own when it's happily full of brown butter – or browned ghee if you're on The Whole30, plenty of sea salt, and just the right amount of thyme. Even before they're baked, they're mashed potatoes to dream about.
But I'm jumping ahead. First I need to tell you all about that mushroom shepherd's pie that's holding up the crust.
Remember back in the spring when I made that Curried Vegan Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping? That was a delicious recipe, but when I made it my handsome man said, “Can you please make a REAL shepherd's pie?” Real, as in not vegan.
Shortly after the real shepherd's pie request, I did my first Whole30 Program. While I've loved eating a paleo diet about 75% of the time, I had never committed to it so fully. I was amazed at how good I could feel by eliminating all grains, beans, legumes, dairy, and sugar from my diet.
Now, I'm still an eat everythingarian but I have definitely started to lean towards a meat-heavier diet. (You might have noticed the meatier recipes on the blog lately.) I just feel so much better eating that way!
But … I have all sorts of love for my vegetarian and vegan friends out there and don't want to leave you out of all the recipes here on the blog. So, while I used ground beef in this mushroom shepherd pie, you could definitely use a vegetarian sub if you wanted. In my vegetarian days, I used to eat veggie ground round. It would totally work in this recipe.
So now that we've got the long winded “this mushroom shepherd's pie recipe is good for everyone” talk out of the way, let me tell you about the recipe itself.
Your Mushroom Shepherd's Pie Game Plan
→ Saute those onions. You want them to start caramelizing so they're deliciously sweet and fragrant. Side note – is there anything better than the smell of cooking onions? I swear it's half the reason why I like to be in the kitchen so much.
→ Brown those mushrooms. Those beauties add so much flavor to the dish. They have that umami thing going on, so even if you're making this vegetarian, you still get big time flavor.
→ Garlic, of course. No good recipe should be without a hearty amount of garlic, IMO. You with me?
→ Tomato paste magic. By cooking the tomato paste for a few minutes, the natural sugars in it start to caramelize. This adds a ton of extra flavor to the dish. Use this trick whenever you use tomato paste. I'm looking at you, Bolognese sauce!
→ Worcestershire sauce. That stuff is a powerhouse of flavor. It's deep and salty and has tons of that umami stuff going on from the anchovies. Note: there are vegetarian versions and I've got a few subs for Whole30-ers!
If you love this Mushroom Shepherd's Pie as much as I do, don't forget to give it a 5-star rating in the comments below!
Mushroom Shepherd's Pie
Brown Butter Potatoes
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
- ⅓ cup butter, use ghee for Whole30
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
Mushroom Shepherd's Pie
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 ½ lbs mushrooms, halved or quartered
- 1 ½ lbs. ground meat (see notes), or veggie meat, if needed
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, vegetarian, if needed – sub chopped anchovies or coco aminos for Whole30
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water, and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are soft, about 15 mintues. Drain them through a colander, add them back into the pan, and mash well.2 lbs potatoes
- Make the brown butter while the potatoes are boiling. Melt the butter (or ghee) over medium heat. Keep it on the heat until it is fragrant and many brown specks appear. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme and garlic. Pour the brown butter over the mashed potatoes and stir through. Salt the potatoes well.⅓ cup butter, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, 1 clove garlic
- While the potatoes are cooking , begin the shepherd's pie. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have released their liquid and are starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the ground meat (or veggie meat) and carrots and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.1 tablespoon oil, 1 large onion, 1 ½ lbs mushrooms, 1 ½ lbs. ground meat (see notes), 2 large carrots, 4 cloves garlic, ¼ cup tomato paste, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
- Transfer the mushroom shepherd's pie to an ovenproof baking dish. Top with the brown butter mashed potatoes and spread them evenly over the top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until it is hot and starting to bubble at the sides.
- Remove from the oven and dig in!