Shepherd’s Pie Made Two Ways, as an Entree and a Party Bite

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Shepherd's Pie Made an Entree and as a Small Bite Party Food

We have a favorite “go to” easy recipe that we keep to ourselves. It’s not the kind of dish we typically share with others, thinking of it as too plain or simple. In the recipe category here it’s known as recession ground beef and peas. It’s a dish I first experienced at a potluck at the Italian club in Nashville. Amidst all the pasta dishes, this was the dish I kept going back for. The natural progression of that dish is Italian Shepherd’s Pie made with grass fed ground beef, peas, onions and kale and topped with  mashed potatoes that get crispy under the broiler. It’s a leaner version, as there is no cheese, and very little butter in the mashed potatoes. You can even make them with olive oil.

Shepherd's PIe By Angela Roberts

I developed this dish for the Creative Cooking Club as this month’s theme was meat and potatoes, the opposite of last month, as the theme was vegan and I made hot tofu, Nashville style.

When I found out the theme was meat and potatoes,  I thought about going fancy and many different ideas swam in my head and then the flu hit our household. I can’t muster up fancy and I’m craving comfort food. Just to add creativity, I thought of party bites.

Party Bites

On the spur of the moment, I did fancy it by Shepherd’s Pie party bites.  These will be the hit of any party. You can leave the kale out if you’re doing the party bites, if you want, but make sure you include the wine sauce.

I didn’t know if it would work, but the proof is that I couldn’t get enough pictures as they kept disappearing. By the time I loaded my pictures to the camera, they were gone. The biggest surprise is that a very picky five year old boy who doesn’t usually like peas ate six of them, stating, “this is the best thing I ever ate in my life.” They are one delicious and comforting bite, a combination of pot pie and and a shepherd’s pie.

I adore small bite party food. The shells can be made in advance and frozen. These are easy to assemble and they stay pretty. The pie crust technique is the same one used in this meatball party bite. I used a round biscuit cutter and rolled it out to 3 inches for a 2 inch mini cupcake pan.

shepherd's pie by Angela Roberts

If you want something slightly more upscale in the meat and potatoes arena, try my pot roast of beef braised in red wine with mashed potatoes,  my short ribs with spinach mashed potatoes, or my roast chicken with figs and roast potatoes.

Click on the logo to see all the entrees on Pinterest or visit Lazaro Cooks who will be the roundup on Februrary 27.

Print Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes

Italian Shepherd's Pie with Grassfed Ground Beef, Peas, Onions and Kale

Shepherd's pie as entree or party bite with Italian flavors.
Course: Appetizer and Main
Cuisine: Italian


  • olive oil
  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cups chopped lacinato kale
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • few sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • dash red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • olive oil garlic mashed potatoes or any mashed potatoes
  • Mini tart shells using your favorite pie crust Rolled out to 3 inches for a 2 inch cookie cutter pan and baked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.


  • Place enough olive oil in pan to cover bottom. Add onions and saute until softened. Season ground beef with salt and pepper. Crumble in and stir fry until meat is cooked through. Add milk and stir until milk in cooked down. Add in white wine and turn on low and cook down until alcohol is cooked off, about ten minutes. Add in a tablespoon of butter. At this point meat should be in nice wine sauce. Add in raw kale and continue to cook until kale is softened. Season as needed with salt, pepper and chili flakes.
  • Spoon mixture into the mini tart shell. Top with mashed potatoes using a pastry bag. Place under broiler just until potato is golden.
  • Serve immediately.
  • When making entree, you can use individual dishes or a larger dish. Make sure it's it's something you can put under the broiler, like a cast iron pan.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo


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  2. Hi Angela – at what point do you add the frozen peas? Didn’t see them mentioned in the directions and want to make sure they are added at the right time to ensure they are properly cooked. Thank you!

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  4. Angela – I love those little bites! I can’t wait to make those – perfect little St. Patrick’s Day party appetizer!

  5. I love shepherd’s pie! WHat a great idea to make it into a bite! I have never done it with a crust before, and I love the idea of using it for a party. It would be a huge hit with the gents!

  6. We were on the same page re: the whole comfort food thing. But yet you really have managed to also create an elegant version of this! Honestly this is my very favorite sort of meal in the whole world, and I love how you’ve done it.

  7. Of course, I love the way you lightened it up by adding the kale and reducing the fat elements. But, most of all, I love the presentation — the piping and those great party bites. The same food presented differently can open even a 5 year old’s appetite.

  8. 4 stars
    I was just telling my husband that i want to go out tonight and have Shepherd’s pie and you come up with these two versions…I like the little one for my St. Patrick’s day party….Delicioso!!!!

4.50 from 2 votes

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