It’s called Essie’s Shepherd’s Pie because this is the recipe my mom taught me how to make when I was a kid. Not only is it still a family favorite, but this same recipe has been a customer favorite in every restaurant where I served as Executive Chef. 

You’ll Need:

  • 1 – 9 x 13 pan or a pan close in size, like a 10 x 10


  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs. Ground Beef 
  • 1- med onion small diced 
  • 4– large potatoes; mashed
  • 16 – 24 oz. brown gravy
  • 4 –6 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1– cup sliced button mushrooms (optional) you may also substitute other mushrooms
  • 2 – tsp. granulated garlic; if using garlic salt you may want to cut back on the other salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Essie's Shepherd Pie


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F in a conventional oven
  2. Brown ground beef with the onions on a med to hi heat. Add seasoning and mushrooms, if using, once the beef starts to brown. Use a spoon or a potato masher to crumble the burger. Reduce heat to a simmer until beef has all browned.
  3. Remove from heat and drain the excess grease from the beef. Add the gravy to the beef until the mixture is completely moist. Not too wet but not to dry.
  4. Put beef mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Top with the mashed potatoes again spreading evenly. Sprinkle on the cheese, you can use whatever amount you would like.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil bake for 25 to 30 min. Remove foil then continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven let it rest for about 15 to 20 min to firm up a little before cutting and serving.


  • You can use leftover mashed potatoes.
  • You can make this 3 to 5 days in advance and refrigerate. Remove from fridge and leave at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, up to 1 hour before cooking.
  • You can freeze this either before cooking or after cooking.
  • This recipe is easy to create in larger batches or smaller batches (like our photo). Just adjust the ingredients, size of cooking pan(s), and cooking times as needed.

Remember to Savor the Food You Eat!

About the Author - Chef Dennis

Chef Dennis has been a professional chef for over 40 years. He has worked in many venues in the restaurant and hospitality industry... from fast food to 4 star gourmet, to owner and executive chef, and was a founding Chef Instructor at the Baker Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) in Port Huron, Michigan.

Now retired, he still loves cooking at home and teaching kitchen and cooking skills.

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