The shepherd’s pie I remember from my childhood was made from ground up leftover roast beef and leftover gravy. My mother had a food grinder which was attached to a pull out cutting board and cranked by hand. You can still find these around. Nowadays shepherd’s pie is usually made with ground beef so we can have this delicious comfort food without having a leftover roast!!
My goal in developing a recipe for shepherd’s pie was to have the meat mixture nicely moistened with gravy but not so moist that the gravy bubbles up into the mashed potatoes too much. I hope I have found the balance here.
The vegetables in the middle can vary with your tastes. My aunt always used to put green beans in the middle. Peas would work well too. You could also leave the vegetables out completely and simply serve a vegetable or two on the side which might be a good option if someone has strong dislikes.
Shepherd’s Pie is a great dish to make ahead, ready to pop into the oven. Allow a few extra minutes if the dish is cold when put into the oven.