Anything topped with mashed potatoes is automatically a win for me. This skillet shepherds pie not only fulfils that mashed potato criteria, but is easy, delicious, and a skillet dinner! With my lighter twist, made with ground chicken instead of traditional lamb, this shepherds pie is accessible for any night of the week. Get yourself your cast iron skillet, a batch of 15 minute Instant Pot mashed potatoes and forget your weeknight dinner worries.
Why You'll Love This Skillet Shepherds Pie
- It is the ultimate comfort food! Nothing beats mashed potatoes and gravy, and well, shepherds pie is basically just that.
- You can use any vegetables on hand! Although traditionally, shepherds pie is made with carrots and peas, I find this dish to be a great way to use any vegetables on hand. I use chopped mushrooms to add extra meatiness, but you can use lentils, zucchini, even add some spinach to the filling.
- It is KID FRIENDLY! Kids can be picky eaters, but shepherds pie is not too overly adventurous for kids to shy away from it.
Tell Me About This Cast Iron Shepherd's Pie
- Flavour: The mashed potato topping is perfectly creamy and garlicky. The filling is mildly flavoured, with some tanginess from the Worcestershire. The flavours together make the perfect brown gravy, which of course, goes well with mashed potatoes. It's good, okay? Okay.
- Ease: This shepherds pie recipe does not require many complicated steps. The only complicated part of the recipe is making the mashed potatoes separately from the filling. The only thing I may suggest to make the preparation easier is to make the mashed potatoes before you start the filling, so you aren't multitasking.
- Time: The filling takes about 30 minutes to cook down, from browning the chicken to softening the vegetables. Because everything is cooked before it is topped with the mashed potatoes, this shepherd's pie only needs to be broiled instead of baked.
Ingredients for an Easy Weeknight Skillet Dinner
- Ground Chicken: Traditional shepherds pie uses ground lamb, or a cottage pie uses ground beef. I like the lightness of ground chicken, and I don't find that I miss the beef or red meat. This recipe will still work with ground beef or lamb, if you prefer.
- Cremini Mushrooms: I roughly chop cremini mushrooms to add to the mixture. The mushrooms add extra meatiness to the filling, without the extra meat. Cremini mushrooms are the small brown mushrooms, but feel free to use what you have on hand.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste, when cooked out, adds great flavour to sauces. I like to buy tomato paste in a tube, because rarely do I have a need for a whole can of tomato paste at one time.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce adds a savoury flavour to sauces - it's a hard flavour to explain. If you are gluten free, be mindful, as some brands contain gluten.
- Chicken Broth: Reduced sodium or no-salt added chicken broth is best. That way, you can control the amount of salt that goes into the dish. Worcestershire is quite salty as well, so you don't want to go overboard.
- Carrots, Corn and Peas: Frozen is fine. That's all.
- Thyme: Dried or fresh is fine. I used dried thyme.
Overview: How to Make This Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe
- Make a batch of 15 Minute Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes - add one egg to the mashed potatoes once done
- Brown the Ground Chicken: Add the ground chicken into the cast iron skillet. Brown, and crumble as it cooks. Add in the garlic and onions, and continue to cook down until translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook down.
- Cook Tomato Paste: Add the tomato paste, and cook it down until it has released some of its oils and smells nutty.
- Sprinkle Flour: Sprinkle the flour into the meat, and combine. Cook the flour for 2-3 minutes to get rid of the raw taste.
- Add the Worcestershire Sauce and Chicken Broth: Add the two, and combine well. The sauce will start to thicken.
- Combine Vegetables: At the very end, add the vegetables to the filling. Smooth out.
- Top With Mashed Potatoes
Tips and Tricks for Delicious Skillet Shepherds Pie
- Add some cheese to make it extra special: Mix some cheddar cheese into your mashed potato topping, to make it extra decadent!
- Make it vegetarian: Substitute the ground chicken with lentils, and keep the mushrooms. The filling will be equally as hearty, with no meat!
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Easy Weeknight Shepherds Pie
- 450 g Ground chicken
- 1 Shallot finely chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups Mushrooms roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon All-purpose flour
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Chicken broth
- ½ cup Diced carrots
- ½ cup Corn kernels
- ½ cup Green peas
- 1 ½ teaspoon Dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Batch 15 Minute InstantPot Mashed Potatoes
- Preheat Oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Make the Mashed Potatoes: Make the mashed potatoes in your InstantPot, according to the recipe. Once the potatoes are done, add one egg, and mix well.
- Brown the Chicken and Mushrooms: While the potatoes are cooking in the InstantPot, in a skillet, brown the shallot and garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the ground chicken, and break apart. Add the mushrooms, and let them cook down for 3-5 minutes.
- Make the Sauce: Add the tomato paste, and cook through for a minute. Sprinkle with flour, and cook for another minute. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, and spices. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the green peas, corn and carrots, and remove from the heat.
- Assemble: If you are going to assemble in the skillet, top with the mashed potatoes, and bake for 10 minutes, on broil for the last 2 minutes. If putting into a baking dish, put the filling down first, top with the mashed potatoes, and bake for the same amount of time.