Christan Willis - Mini Shepherd’s Pies

Chef Christan Willis puts a miniature spin on a British classic.


  • Russet or yukon gold potatoes- 1 ½ -2 lbs (about 4 large potatoes) peeled + cut
  • Heavy cream or half & half - ½ c
  • Butter- 3 tbsp
  • Parmesan- 1/2 c grated *reserving 4 tbsp for topping
  • Salt + pepper- to taste
  • Fresh chopped fennel fronds - 2 tbsp


  • Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Ground beef – 1 lbs
  • Carrots- ½ c grated
  • 1 large onion – small dice (1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves- crushed + minced
  • Frozen peas- 1/4 c
  • All purpose flour- 2 tbsp
  • Tomato paste- 2 tbsp
  • Dijon- 2 tsp
  • Dry red wine- 1 c
  • Beef stock- 1 c
  • Fresh chopped thyme- 2 tbsp
  • Fresh chopped rosemary- 2 tbsp
  • Worcestershire – 1 tbsp

Yield: 4-6 servings


Preheat oven to 375.

1. Peel and quarter potatoes. Add to large pot of cold water. Cook over medium high heat for 20 mins or until fork tender. Drain water, mash as desired. Add heavy cream / half & half, butter, salt + pepper. Fold in grated parmesan and chopped fennel to mashed potatoes and set aside. Potatoes should be smooth and fluffy consistency. Taste and set aside.

2. In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil and brown the ground beef. Cook for about 5 mins. Drain fat and set aside reserving the pan for the vegetables. Add carrots, onion, and garlic to pan and sauté for 2-3 mins on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low, add tomato paste, dijon and flour to vegetable mixture. Cook for 1 min and add ground beef back to pan.

3. Slowly add red wine, and beef stock to pan and simmer for 10 mins until the sauce is reduced down. Lastly, add frozen peas, thyme & rosemary to sheppard’s pie filling. Season with salt and pepper, taste and set aside mixture for assembly.

4. Divide mixture into 4 ramekins or mini cast iron pans. Top with mashed potatoes and smooth over top of ramekin. Top with the reserved parmesan. Bake for 20 mins until golden brown and edges are crisp. Serve immediately

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