Save time and reduce food waste with this quick and easy shepherd’s pie recipe that uses nothing but leftovers.
Every culture in the world has traditional recipes that use up leftovers. This is my version of shepherd’s pie that uses up ALL the leftovers from a roast meal: the meat, the potatoes, the vegetables and the gravy.
What’s more, using up the leftovers doesn’t just reduce food waste. It doesn’t just save money. It doesn’t just save time.
It actually tastes even better the second day around because like all good stews, the flavours have had time to meld and develop overnight in the fridge.
You can make shepherd’s pie from scratch, of course. And my husband asked if we could just skip the roast and make the pie. It was that good.
But it wouldn’t taste as good as leftover pie because of the magic that happens to the flavours when they have a chance to mingle overnight.
Origins of Shepherd’s Pie – For the History Buffs
Shepherd’s pie was originally known as cottage pie, and the name refers to a pie made from any meat and topped with potato.
Cottage pie originates from the 18th Century Ireland and Britain when the poorer people – known as ‘cottagers’ – started using potatoes as an everyday food.
Cottage pie has local variations around the world. But my favourite is from the Netherlands just because it’s called philosopher’s stew [source].
How to Make The *Easiest* Shepherd’s Pie From Leftovers
There are thousands of recipes that show how to make Shepherd’s Pie from scratch, or using just leftover roast lamb.
But the version I like to make is entirely from leftovers. That means night number two is super easy.
First, make your roast. You can use any meat in a shepherd’s pie, but lamb is traditional. Here’s how I make my lamb roast with rosemary and garlic.
Roasts can seem pretty expensive, but when you stretch them to cover more than one meal (and maybe some sandwich meat for lunches), they end up being quite a cheap meat option.
Keep an eye out also for sale items or reduce to clear roasts and save further.
Along with your roast joint of meat, make sure to roast extra vegetables and cook some extra greens and make extra gravy for the shepherd’s pie.
Then, after your roast meal, strip any remaining meat from the bone and set aside. Don’t throw the bone out, you can use the bone to make stock!
Put the bone in the slow cooker with some water and let it cook overnight for lamb stock. Or, put the bone in the freezer to make stock at a later date. That stock can be used to make gravy for your next roast or soup. We made vegetable and barley soup with the lamb stock that came from the same bone as the meat for this pie.
Back to the pie. Mix the leftover meat and greens with the leftover gravy and put in a pie dish.
Slice the remaining roast potato and top your pie with the potato slices.
If you like, you can sprinkle a little cheese on top. Then set aside in the fridge overnight.
The next night, simply pop your pie in the oven until it is heated through and golden on the top.
Serve with a side of more greens or bread.
- Chop leftover lamb into bite sized pieces.
- Mix leftover roast lamb, leftover gravy and leftover vegetables together.
- Place in pie dish.
- Slice leftover roast potato and spread over top of lamb mixture.
- Sprinkle with grated cheese if using OR dot with a little butter OR drizzle with a little oil.
- Bake at 180°C for approx. 30-40 minutes or until heated through and golden on top.
- Serve with steamed greens if desired.
This dish is super easy if you plan ahead and cook extra vegetables and gravy when you roast the lamb.
Roast carrots to chop through the pie.
Steam or boil extra greens to add to the pie.
Many shepherd's pie recipes include onion. Instead of chopping and frying onion for your pie, roast some onion wedges with your roast vegetables and roast lamb to add to your pie.
Try roasting your lamb and potatoes with some fresh chopped rosemary for a flavourful twist.
Time-saving tip: On the first night, when you roast the lamb, strip the remaining meat from the bone, chop it into bite sized pieces and add it to the leftover gravy along with leftover steamed vegetables and leftover roast vegetables (except the potato). Place mix into a pie dish. Top with sliced, leftover potatoes and store in the fridge for an easy meal the next day that only needs to be reheated in the oven.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 236mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 11g
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Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.