Shepherd's pie is a marvelous comfort food: hearty meat and veg under a mashed potato crust. This upside-down version, made in a muffin pan and baked in shredded potato cups, is both ingenious and cute. Ingenious in that it takes so little time — no more than what you have on an average Monday evening; cute in that, hello! These are small and adorable muffin cups of shepherd's pie.
Besides the muffin pan, this meal relies on one smart shortcut. This little tip means you don't skimp on the flavor and heartiness that comes with this classic comfort food.
A Smart Shortcut from the Freezer
Instead of the traditional mashed potato topping, these individual-sized shepherd's pie cups use frozen shredded hash brown potatoes.
Press the shredded potatoes into a thick layer over the bottom and high up the sides of each well in the muffin pan. They bake up into a golden-brown potato cup, filled with the savory meat and veggie filling.
See? Ingenious and cute. And who doesn't want both of these fine qualities in a meal?
Muffin Pan Meals
Muffin-pan meals is a series that shows you just how versatile this piece of staple bakeware can be. It's the easy solution for turning larger-format meals into smaller, single-serve portions and offers the ability for customization to accommodate all the tastes around the table.
Muffin-Pan Shepherd's Pie
(32-ounce) bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
canola or vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper
medium onion, diced
low-sodium beef broth or stock
(10-ounce) package frozen peas and carrots, thawed
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. Coat the wells of a standard 12-well muffin tin with cooking spray; set aside.
Press about 1/3 cup of shredded potatoes into the bottom and up the sides of each muffin well. Be sure the potatoes are packed tightly, cover the bottom well, and press up the sides of each muffin cup in an even layer.
Bake until the potatoes pull away from the sides of the muffin wells and the edges are golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside, and lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper. Break the meat apart with a wooden spoon and stir occasionally until all the meat is crumbled, browned, and cooked through.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir well to combine with the meat and onions, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and Worcestershire sauce, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce is bubbling, stir in the carrots and peas. Cook just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Divide the meat and vegetable mixture among the potato cups. Cover the muffin pan with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing the shepherd's pie cups and serving.
Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.