As you may have guessed from the title, this single-serving Shepherd's Pie with Quail Egg recipe is a bit different from the traditional shepherd's pie. Your friends and family will definitely be pleasantly surprised to find a quail egg as they dig into their shepherd's pie. Quail eggs add more nutrition and creativity to the dish! Win-Win!
This is definitely not the classic and traditional way of making shepherd's pie.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's unique and creative: a quail egg between layers of ground beef or lamb in a shepherd's pie? That's definitely unique 🙂
- Juicy and flavorful: the minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, marinara sauce, and the seasonings makes this shepherd's pie so flavorful! The juices from the ground meat cooked in the seasonings and sauces creates an amazing gravy under the meat and mashed potatoes, so juicy!
- Convenient: I love serving the shepherd's pie in single-serve little bowls, its so convenient to serve individually, rather than sccoping portions for each person. The bowls also make for a better cleanup; take up less room in the dishwasher.
For a full list and quantity of ingredients, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
The main ingredients for this dish are:
- Ground beef or lamb: traditionally Shepperd's pie is made with lamb, so you can make this dish with lamb if you prefer.
- Potatoes: Yukon gold or russet potatoes work best for mashed potatoes
- Frozen vegetables: I use mixed frozen vegetables; it comes in a package with frozen corn, peas, beans, and carrots.
- Eggs: You will need one large chicken egg and 6-8 quail eggs (depending on the size of the single-serve bowls you are using. The chicken egg will be added to the mashed potatoes, before mashing. It just makes the mashed potatoes smoother, and creamier. The quail eggs are just there as a cute little addition of surprise, creativity, and nutrition.
- Cream cheese: so, there are so many options for the type of cream cheese you can use. I love adding chive cream cheese, but there is also herb and garlic cream cheese that works so great in this dish. Plane cream cheese, or even sour cream, will work too, but I just like adding that extra flavor that comes with the flavored cream cheeses. Just make sure not to add the sweet kinds, like strawberry, or cinnamon flavored.
- Seasonings: you'll just need salt, ground black pepper, some dried parsley flakes, and sweet paprika
Substitutions and Variations
- Frozen vegetables: you can simply use frozen corn or peas instead of the vegetable mix
- Parmesan cheese: for a rich and nutty flavor add about 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese to your potatoes after you mash them. Stir well.
- Bacon: stir in about 1/4 cup of bacon bits, or 3-4 chopped slices of fried bacon, into the mashed potatoes.
- Garlic: add about 2-3 minced garlic cloves into the mashed potatoes for some more flavor before baking
- Make it spicy: add a dash (about 1/8 of a teaspoon) of cayenne pepper seasoning, to taste, when cooking the ground meat. Be carefull not to make it too spicy. Once the meat is cooked through, you can alway give it a try and add more.
A little about quail eggs
These cute little eggs taste just like chicken eggs (I find them a tad bit sweeter), but are about 1/3 the size of a chicken egg.
Nutritionally, they are high in vitamin B12, riboflavin, and antioxidants that may even help treat allergy symptoms. Caution: if you are allergic to chicken eggs, you may be allergic to quail eggs. Some may be allergic to quail eggs even if they are not allergic to chicken eggs.
Although quail eggs are more difficult to find than chicken eggs, you can usually find them in the refrigerator section at the grocery store; usually neat chicken eggs.
*** see preparation details in recipe card at the end of this post
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place 8 (6 oz. each) oven-safe bowls on the parchment paper-lined dish. Set aside.
STEP 2: Prepare the meat filling
Sauté onion until translucent and add the ground meat. Break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add and seasonings and stir well. Sauté until the meat has cooked through. Stir in minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and marinara sauce. Cook for about 1 minute and add the flour. Stir for 1 minute. Add the beef or chicken broth and the frozen mixed vegetables. Mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside and allow the filling in the skillet to cool.
STEP 3: Prepare mashed potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit while you prepare the mashed potatoes.
Cook peeled and chopped potatoes in salted water until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes in the pot and add salt, cream cheese, raw egg and, using a potato masher, start mashing right away before the egg begins to cook in the hot potatoes. Mash the potatoes until smooth.
STEP 4: Arrange in bowls
Distribute half of the meat filling among the serving bowls. Carefully crack one quail egg into each bowl, over the meat. Distribute the remainder of the meat over the quail egg.
Using a tablespoon, scoop the mashed potatoes and spread over the meat in each single-serve bowl. Spread evenly, covering any gaps.
Drizzle some paprika, dried parsley, and ground black pepper. Dip the bristles of a basting brush in the melted butter and brush the top of each mashed potato-topped dish.
Place on the center rack in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes have started to brown. Garnish with some chopped chives.
- make sure to break down the meat to a fine crumble - a potato masher helps a great deal
- do not overcrowd your pan when cooking the meat; use a large pan
- make sure to fully drain the water from the potatoes before mashing them
- make sure your mashed potatoes are smooth and creamy, clump free - the egg and cream cheese will help . Mash them well!
- When adding the egg to the boiled potatoes make sure to start mashing right away, otherwise you'll end up with cooked omelette in your mashed potatoes.
- Allow the shepherd's pie to rest about 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven and before serving. This will help the flavors settle in the pie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Cracking a raw egg into your potatoes before mashing is a thing. It's a great thing! The mashed potatoes turn out beautifully rich and creamy.
It's important to start mashing and stirring as soon as you add the raw egg. Otherwise, the egg will cook in your hot potatoes and you will end up having scrambled eggs in there. So, once the potatoes are cooked and drained, first, add the salt and the cream cheese, and then the egg. As soon as the egg is added, start mashing and stirring with the potato masher until it's well combined.
There is no need to worry that the egg is raw because you are technically cooking it twice: Once in the hot potatoes and then again in the oven.
If you prefer not to add the egg to the potatoes, you can stir in one tablespoon of butter instead.
Yes, Shepherd's pie can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge. It's best to store the meat filling separate from the mashed potatoes and not to crack the quail eggs until the day you serve it. Distribute the meat amongst the bowls and add the quail eggs and mashed potatoes before placing the bowls in the oven - the day you'll be serving it.
If your meat mixture turned out too dry, add a little more broth, stir well and allow the meat to simmer and absorb the broth to a desired consistency. The meat should be moist, but not wet and soupy.
Because it's a smaller, single-serving shepherd's pie, it's perfect as an appetizer served with our Caprese Salad With Microgreens or the Spring Vegetable and Berry Salad. A roasted vegetables side dish would really go well with this recipe. Try our Healthy Turmeric Oven Roasted Vegetables.
Storing and reheating
To store leftovers of the individual bowls, make sure they have cooled down completely then cover each bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for upto 3 days.
It's best to reheat the bowls in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, take the plastic wrap off the bowls and bake for about 15 minutes.
Try our other ground meat recipes
Shepherd's Pie with Quail Egg
For the meat filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 lb lean ground beef or ground lamb
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons marinara sauce or two tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
- 8 quail eggs or one per serving bowl
For the mashed potato topping:
- 4 large potatoes - russet or Yukon gold
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 large chicken egg
- 1 tablespoon chive cream cheese - or herb cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
optional for garnishment:
- pinch sweet paprika
- pinch ground black pepper
- pinch dried parsley flakes
- chopped chives
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place 8 (6 oz. each) oven-safe bowls on the parchment paper-lined dish. Set aside.
Prepare the meat filling:
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion. Sauté onion until translucent - reduce heat to medium if the onion is starting to burn.
- Add the ground meat. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the salt, ground black pepper, dried parsley flakes, and sweet paprika. Stir well to combine all flavors and break up the meat a bit more. Sauté until the meat has cooked through - about 5-6 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and marinara sauce. Cook for about 1 minute and add the flour. Stir for 1 minute.
- Now add the beef or chicken broth and the frozen mixed vegetables. Mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes. Give it a taste and add more salt if needed. Stir well. Set aside and allow the filling in the skillet to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit while you prepare the mashed potatoes.
Prepare the mashed potato topping:
- Preboil water in a kettle (fill the kettle to a maximum). Peel the potatoes and chop them into smaller pieces so they cook quicker. Make sure the pieces are approximately the same size so they cook evenly. Rinse the potatoes and place them in a pot.
- Pour the boiled water from the kettle into the pot, just enough to cover the potatoes, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the potatoes for approximately 15 minutes. To check if the potatoes are ready, pierce a couple of potato pieces with a fork or a toothpick. If potatoes are tender, they are ready.
- Drain the potatoes in the pot. Add salt, cream cheese, raw egg and, using a potato masher, start mashing right away before the egg begins to cook in the hot potatoes. Mash the potatoes until smooth.
Arrange in bowls and bake:
- Distribute half of the meat filling among the serving bowls. Carefully crack one quail egg into each bowl, over the meat. Distribute the remainder of the meat over the quail egg.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop the mashed potatoes and spread over the meat in each single-serve bowl. Spread evenly, covering any gaps.
- Drizzle some paprika, dried parsley, and ground black pepper. Dip the bristles of a basting brush in the melted butter and brush the top of each mashed potato-topped dish.
- Place on the center rack in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes have started to brown. Garnish with some chopped chives.