Shepherd’s pie is a classic dish made with seasoned ground beef and mashed potatoes. It’s a filling, heartwarming dish that’s often served on holidays but it can be enjoyed on any given day too! But can you freeze shepherd’s pie?
If you have a lot of leftovers in your hand, you can always store the rest of the shepherd’s pie in the freezer. However, the mash potato topping may no longer be as fluffy once it’s been frozen and defrosted. The mashed potatoes could take on a grainy texture, which could be off-putting to some. If you don’t mind a little texture change then go ahead and freeze your leftover shepherd’s pie.
Freezing Homemade Shepherd’s Pie
If say, you don’t like the idea of freezing mashed potatoes, we suggest excluding the topping when freezing the shepherd’s pie mixture. Start by preparing the base of the shepherd’s pie as you normally would. Leave the seasoned ground beef to cool completely before packing it for freezing.
Once the dish has cooled down, pour the mixture into a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Cover the container with cling wrap to seal the dish and prevent leaks then secure it with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer. Once you are ready to serve, you can whip up the mashed potato topping and spread an even layer of it before reheating the dish in the oven.
Image used under Creative Commons from Sodanie Chea
Freezing Leftover Shepherd’s Pie
If you have plenty of leftovers and there’s no chance that you can exclude the mashed potato topping then you can pack the dish as is. We suggest using a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid because a plastic bag will only mess up the topping.
Using a large wooden spoon or a spatula, spoon the dish carefully into the rigid plastic container. Do this carefully so the topping won’t be disturbed as you transfer the shepherd’s pie into a different container. Cover the container with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
This recipe brings together the rich and traditional flavors of shepherd’s pie but it’s more freezer-friendly than the beloved classic. It’s the perfect make-ahead dish for any gathering or special occasion.
For the beef and vegetable layer:
1 pound ground beef
1-½ cup chopped yellow onion
¾ cups chopped carrot
½ cups fresh or frozen peas
½ cups corn kernels
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
For the mashed potato topping
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
½ cups heavy cream
¼ cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted or softened
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large skillet, brown the beef on medium high until fully cooked. Drain the excess fat then add the onions and carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper then cook until the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the peas and corn then cook for 2 minutes. Add the melted butter then stir in the flour, thyme leaves, and garlic. Stir to fully incorporate all the ingredients then pour the beef stock. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat until the broth is reduced to a thick sauce. Remove the pan from the eat then pour the beef and vegetable mixture into an 8×8 baking dish.
To make the mashed potato topping, boil the cubed potatoes in a pot until the spuds are fork-tender. Then, drain the water and spread the boiled potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan. Let sit for five minutes to release the heat. Using a potato masher or a fork, press onto the boiled potatoes to mash them then gradually stir in the in cream, milk, butter, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Using a spatula, spread the mashed potato on top of the beef and vegetable mixture.
Stick the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the mashed potato topping turns a golden brown.
Image used under Creative Commons from HarshLight
When kept in the freezer, shepherd’s pie will last for at least 2 months. It will keep longer when the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. To thaw the shepherd’s pie, simply leave the pan to defrost in the freezer the night before. You can reheat the shepherd’s pie by sticking it in the oven and baking for an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can you freeze shepherd’s pie? If you’re craving for a hot serving of shepherd’s pie, you can always freeze this dish and serve it any time of the day! Since the shepherd’s pie will keep so well in the freezer, there is no need to worry about what to do with the leftovers.