Eating shepherd’s pie for breakfast is like a dream come true for me. Shepherd’s pie is one of the most comforting foods ever, and instead of just eating the leftovers first thing in the morning, I decided to convert the whole dish to something a little more acceptable as a breakfast food! As always when I am doing anything with shepherd’s pie, I like to put this caveat as early as I can – I know I didn’t use lamb in this and therefore is “technically” isnt true shepherd’s pie. Phew! I said it. Now we can move forward.
This time of year some of my favorite recipe ideas are easy to make baked breakfasts. Many of us are visiting family or have family visiting next week, and being a short order cook at breakfast can be a real pain. Everyone wants something hot and fresh though, and creative egg based casseroles are the way to go. This one is a shepherd’s pie breakfast mash-up, with breakfast sausage and bacon at the bottom, an egg layer in the middle, and cheesy mashed potatoes on top. There are a million different ways you can make this dish, I have even done it a few different ways myself! Stay tuned till the end if you want some tips on how to make it your own.
Prepping the potato topping
I like to bake my potatoes instead of boiling them. Honestly I think blanching anything is the worst preparation method. A lot of the flavor goes into the water! I want the food to be as flavorful as possible. Also the potatoes get wetter when you blanch them, so you can’t add as many flavorful liquids to them.
After the potatoes cook, run them through a potato ricer, then stir in some melted butter and cream. The will be the perfect texture for the top of the breakfast shepherd’s pie.
Cook the meat layer
I used breakfast sausage, bacon, and onion in this layer. I treated it like a sausage gravy but adding some flour to thicken it, and milk to make it saucy.
Two different ways to make the egg layer
I mentioned earlier that I made this breakfast shepherd’s pie a few different ways in the past. One difference is cooking the eggs or not. I prefer just barely cooking the eggs and adding them in between the meat and potato layer. This way, the eggs are a layer of their own. Don’t worry about how runny they are, they will finish cooking in the oven.
The other way you can do it, is add the raw eggs then add the potatoes. As you can see by the photo below, this will create one layer that is both egg and potato. It cooks up really good and pretty interesting, with the eggs being fluffy like a soufflé. This version is a lot easier to make too, since you don’t need the extra step of cooking the eggs in a pan. I slightly prefer layered feel of the first option, but it is up to you to make it the way you want!
Add the potato and cheese
I debated with myself about how to make this for awhile, but in the end I decided any shepherds pie needs mashed potatoes on top, breakfast or otherwise!. I thought of hash brown options or putting the eggs on top of the potatoes, but it really just felt like a generic breakfast bake unless it was a mashed potato top crust.
Bake the breakfast shepherds pie
Get this into the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes until browning on top and bubbling around the edges.
Fresh out of the oven this breakfast shepherd’s pie is gorgeous. It was hard not to just dive right in.
The cheesy potatoes were perfect to go with the sausage gravy mixture and there was just enough sausage and egg flavor to keep it brunchy and not feel like dinner. The crispy bits of potato brought it to the next level.
If you have never made a classic shepherd’s pie before, I really like this saucy recipe that reminds me more of the british versions I had when I lived in bermuda.
Twists on breakfast Shepherd’s Pie
I have made this breakfast shepherd’s pie in the past with a sausage, spinach, tomato mixture at the bottom and that version was really good too! You may have seen that recipe here before, but I recently adjusted it to my current tastes. Also I talked a bit about the different ways to do the egg above. As with all my recipes, I encourage you to be inspired by this version but make it your own. Want to do it with your favorite sausage gravy on the bottom? Great! Want to put hash browns on top? Even better!
Breakfast Shepherd’s Pie
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2 tablepoons cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 slices bacon
- 12 ounces loose breakfast sausage
- 1/2 small onion diced
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 6 eggs
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar shredded
- Bake the potatoes at 350 until tender, about an hour and a half.
- Remove the skin from the potatoes. Use a potato ricer to break up the potatoes into a bowl. Stir in the butter and cream. Add more milk or cream if needed to soften. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the bacon about 8 minutes until mostly cooked. Add the sausage and cook another 8 minutes until just about fully cooked and lightly browned. Add the onion and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the two tablespoons of butter to the pan along with the flour. Stir well to combine and continue to stir and cook for 3 minutes until the flour is fully mixed in and the color darkens by a shade or two.
- Whisk in the milk and the parsley and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Pour into the baking dish.
- Turn oven to 375
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Cook in a nonstick pan, stirring constantly, until mostly set but still pretty runny. Pour this mixture over the sausage.
- Use a piping bag or the corner of a large zip lock bag to pipe the potatoes onto the top of the casserole. Top with the cheese.
- 375 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.