My Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie.

It was my mother’s birthday.

In her honour, the hubby and I decided to make her shepherd’s pie recipe and to document it step by step for the generations to come.

We are really proud of this dish. It is incredibly good. Kids, especially will love it.

For the base –
1 kg ground beef
2 large onions, cut into fine pieces
3 carrots, grated
250g fresh brown mushrooms or canned button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 to 9 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 T dried mixed herbs
5 bay leaves
2 to 3 beef bouillon/stock cubes
3 T Bovril
1 t ground back pepper
1/2 to 1 C red wine
5 T plain flour

For the potato topping –
3 kg white potatoes
1.5 C whole milk
150g butter
1 to 2 chicken stock cubes

Final egg wash topping –
3 egg yolks


This step by step demonstration is inspired by The Pioneer Woman.

Meet the cast for the show.

Add a teaspoon of salt to half a large pot of water and set it on the stove to boil.

Meanwhile, peel 3kg of potatoes. Use white potatoes, don’t use the starchy yellow ones.

Cut the potatoes into even size cubes.

When the pot of water is boiling, place the potatoes in and let it boil for about 1/2 hour or until potatoes are VERY tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, pre-heat oven to 200 deg Celsius.

Slice 250g of mushrooms.

Peel and grate 3 carrots.

Cut 2 large onions into fine pieces.

Mince 8 to 9 cloves of garlic.

Add 2 T of cooking oil to a large deep pan. Keep the pan at high heat at all times.

Add the onions.

Stir it around for a minute.

Add the minced garlic.

Stir it around for a minute. And then add 1 kg of ground beef.

Keep stove at high heat and give it a good stir.

Add the carrots.

Add the mushrooms.

Grab some mixed herbs.

Add 1 T of mixed herbs.

Add 5 bay leaves.

Add beef bouillon cubes. Bouillon is just a nicer name for stock. We’ve used Oxo since I was a kid. It’s the only brand I know.

Add 2-3 cubes of beef bouillon. It depends on the brand you use. Safer to add 2 first. Taste it at the end and add more if necessary.

I crumble them with my fingers into the pan. There’s nothing worse than eating into food and biting into a large lump of undissolved stock cube.

I love Bovril.

Add 3 tablespoons of Bovril.

Add 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stir it all up.

Add 1/2 to 1 C of red wine, depending on how much wine flavour you like in your stew.

After a good stir to combine the ingredients in the pot, sprinkle in 5 tablespoons of plain flour. Sprinkle. Don’t chuck a whole chunk in. You’ll be very sorry when you have flour dumplings in the gravy later.

Stir the flour through. Turn off the fire. Cover tightly and set aside.

Now the potatoes should be done.

The potatoes must be very tender, otherwise they won’t mash nicely into a soft whipped texture.

Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot and add in 150g of butter. Mash it up.

Add 1 to 2 cubes of chicken stock, depending on how salty they are. Crumble them in with your fingers.

Add black pepper to taste.

Add 1.5 cups of whole milk (room temperature, not cold).

Stir and mash. Taste. Tweak with milk or seasonings where necessary. You want to get a VERY soft mash. Like KFC whipped potato. Not the hard kind of mash because there’s more cooking to be done.

When the mashed potatoes are finger linking good on their own, cover the pot and set aside.

Now back to the meat mixture.

Dish out the meat stuff into 3 casseroles. My mother always did 3, as far as I can remember. 1 big, 1 medium and 1 small.

Fill HALF the dishes with meat mixture.

Place the mashed potatoes in a strong freezer zip lock bag. And push the mixture to the bottom of the bag.

Snip off an inch of the bag at the tip of one end at the bottom.

Hold the opened tip carefully and place the bag of potatoes over the casserole dish.

Start piping in straight lines end to end.

Don’t worry about the uneven lines yet.

Once you have the potatoes piped on, use a offset spatula or a jam knife and gently move the surface of the potatoes till you get an even flat top.

Add more mashed potatoes where necessary.

When they are done, they will look like this.

Get 3 beaten egg yolks in a bowl.

Brush the egg yolk over the surface of the pies. Load it on generously.

Glide a fork over the surface gently and create lines.

They’ll look like this when you’re done.

Pop the pies into the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top. To give it an extra golden brown, I turned the oven to grill in the last 5 minutes.


How pretty are they!!?

The small one is for individual consumption (in our case, it’s for our first tasting), the medium one is for a relative or friend who likes this pie (in our case, for our neighbour) and the large one is for dinner on the same day with family and friends.

Now for the most important part.. FINAL TASTING.

The first cut.

So far, so good. Potatoes are silky soft. Meat is moist with lots of gravy.

It was delicious!

It was just heavenly. Thin soft egg crust, silky smooth buttery potatoes, eaten together with rich meaty stew.

Too good… mindblasting.

You can find the photos-free recipe for printing here. (large file, please wait for it to download & display)

Main Blog – Story of Bing


  1. Hi Bing, tis recipe is rocking awesome!!! Thanks for sharing, babe! Hope to read more posts on western recipes from you. Cheers!

  2. Btw, do you mind to share your fried bee hoon recipe? Your photos of the fried bee hoon looks very appetitizing! I have yet to master cooking a good fried bee hoon. Thanks on advance!

    • I’ve been asking my husband to do a step by step tutorial with me on his bee hoon! Will get to it soon!

  3. Hi, any idea where can I buy the OXO beef bouillon cube? I couldn’t find it. Thanks in advance!! =)

    • You can use any type of beef bouillon or beef stock cubes. The brand doesn’t matter. Just taste as you add on to make sure it’s not too salty, as different brands have different degree of saltiness.

  4. I didn’t want to use those with msg so was hoping to find out whether oxo contains any. Dun see many brands of beef stock cube around tho.

  5. I’m pretty sure OXO has msg in it.

    If you’re in Singapore, Knorr has a beef stock cube that may work as well. Good luck!

  6. Thanks!!!:)

  7. Hi Bing,

    As I’m making for someone who doesn’t consume beef and alcohol, I’m thinking of substituting with chicken but thing is what do I substitute the beef stock, wine and bovril with? Thanks!

    • Sorry for the late reply, Sabrina. I was travelling.

      This recipe is a old recipe from my mother. I’ve never tried it with chicken before. I’m guessing you can try to replace the beef stock with chicken stock and skip the wine and bovril. It would probably taste completely different from the original recipe though.

      Have fun!

  8. Oh and I’m bringing it to a party so instead of 3 pans, I only have a 13′ by 10′ pan. Is that too big?

    • Hi Sabrina, I really wouldn’t know. I usually play by ear and just keep filling up pans till my beef filling is used up. When your filling is cooked, you should be able to estimate if it’s too much or too little for your pan.

  9. I am so glad I discovered your blog. It is a god-send. The great pictures make a lot of difference.

  10. Hi Bing,

    Just wanted to let you know that I made these shepherd’s pie for a gathering at my friend’s place & it was a hit despite leaving out the bovril sauce because I can’t find them in Singapore! Everyone really loved it :) Thanks for all your recipes! :)

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe, Cherlynn! It’s one of those recipes that will stay in my family forever because everyone loves it and it’s such comfort food. =) Thanks for letting me know. =)

  11. Hi Bing,
    I am glad to visit your website for the first time today ;o). I am trilled with your shepherd pie recipe and I will try it out this weekend. May I know at what stage do you throw away the bay leaves? Do you also put into the oven to bake them?

  12. Hi Bing! May I know how many people does this recipe feed?

  13. Thanks for this recipe! First time cooking following a recipe and it came out great for a birthday lunch surprise! Makes a difference having a local one since all the ingredients could be purchased at Fairprice. Great work and thanks for the effort!


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