One of my favorite things to do is to take a classic dish and turn it upside-down, so to speak. Convert it into something that we haven’t really thought about before, but once we do we’re like “why didn’t I think of that?” Or “why didn’t I think of that sooner!” Mashing together two recipes and creating one mega super awesome dish is one of the things I live for. They’re my favorite types of recipes on this blog, and they’re the ones I look forward to the most. These Shepherd’s Pie Twice Baked Potatoes are no exception. They’re basically portable shepherd’s pie and I’m very into it and something tells me that you will be too. If you’re in need of more twice baked potato inspiration, why not give these a try with a breakfast twist! Or perhaps this Mexican street corn variation is more your style?
Let’s start by preparing the potatoes. You’ll want large russet potatoes for this because they’re sturdy enough to hold up through baking and filling. Scrub them well and place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F until fork tender, about 45 minutes.
**Tip: You can place the potatoes on a baking sheet for easier moving in and out of the oven…BUT I like placing them directly on a wire rack because I find that they get a crispier crust. Also, if you want to speed things up, you can also pop them in a microwave and cook them in there, if you’re not opposed to such things!**
Brown the ground sirloin in a large skillet until no longer pink, making sure to break up the beef with a wooden spoon. You might have to drain the beef, if it releases too much liquid or fat. Drain and then return to the skillet.
Add in the diced carrot, celery, scallions and garlic and stir, cooking until the vegetables have softened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Season the mixture with salt, pepper and a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Add in the tomato paste and cook for about a minute longer.
**Tip: I like cooking the tomato paste a bit because it really enhances the flavor of the paste, which gives this dish a great taste!**
Sprinkle in the flour and cook for about 30 seconds.
**Tip: Cooking the flour a bit allows that raw flour taste to cook off. I think it’s an important step, especially when making roux for thickening sauces.**
Stir in the beef stock and add in a fresh bay leaf and some thyme sprigs. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat until the sauce has thickened and slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the peas and set the mixture off to the side to cool down slightly.
Once the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Carefully cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise, and then scoop out most of the potato from the center, using a spoon. Transfer to a large bowl and add in the butter, buttermilk, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mash until it’s as smooth as possible.
**Tip: You’ll want to leave some of the potato on the shells so that they’re sturdy enough to fill and bake. You also want to work rather quickly because the potatoes scoop out a lot easier while they’re still warm!**
Fill each potato skin with the ground beef mixture, packing in as much as possible, which will help hold the mashed potatoes on top.
Transfer the mashed potatoes to a decorating bag, fitted with a large star tip, and pipe out the potatoes on top of the filling. You’ll want to pipe it out in a swooping motion.
**Tip: The piping bag is mostly for looks and gives the potatoes ridges which in turn, allows them to get golden brown on top…this is completely optional and you can just spread it on top with a spoon.**
Place the potatoes on a wire rack, set over a baking sheet, and place under a preheated broiler and cook until golden brown on top.
Carefully remove the potatoes from the oven and sprinkle the tops with fresh thyme leaves before serving. Again, this is just mostly for looks. I love a shepherd’s pie with fresh thyme on top! (Chives or scallions would work great here as well).
If you want to make these ahead of time, you can place the filled and topped potatoes on a baking sheet and freeze for about 2 hours before transferring to a freezer bag or freezer-safe storage container and freezing until ready to use.
**Tip: To rewarm, place the potatoes on a baking sheet, straight from the freezer, and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.**
You could also make these with sweet potatoes have a sweet potato variation, if you’re into that sort of thing. You can also try swapping out the ground beef with ground chicken or turkey if you want a “healthier” take on it. Lentils would be a great vegetarian option as well!
These would be great as a light dinner with a simple green salad on the side, or as an easy weekend lunch. You could also make them much smaller and serve them as an appetizer or snack for parties or holiday gatherings! Either way, I think you should definitely make them as soon as possible. They’re very addicting!
- 4 large russet potatoes, washed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1½ cups beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the potatoes on the oven rack and bake until a fork goes in easily, about 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Once hot, add in the ground sirloin and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the beef has browned and is no longer pink. Drain and return to the skillet. Stir in the carrot, celery, garlic and scallions and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season with ¾ teaspoon salt, black pepper, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Cook about 1 minute longer and then stir in the flour. Stir in the beef stock, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cook over low until the sauce has thickened and almost evaporated. Remove from the heat, stir in the peas, discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, and set off to the side.
- Once the potatoes are done, let them cool slightly before cutting in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out most of the potato into a bowl, leaving some behind for a sturdy shell. Place the potato skins on a baking sheet and fill with the beef mixture.
- To the bowl of potatoes, add the butter, buttermilk, the ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and garlic powder. Mash until as smooth as possible. Transfer to a piping bag, fitted with a large star tip, and pipe out the mashed potatoes on top of the filling on each potato shell. Place under the broiler until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with fresh thyme.