Shepherd’s pie is a dish that originates in the UK. Its main ingredients are usually ground lamb meat and a topping or crusting of mashed potatoes.
Shepherd’s pie has many variations and can be made into vegetarian meals. Instead of mashed potatoes, the pie can be covered with grated cheese to give it a melted cheese topping.
Shepherd’s pie is comfort food that would be great to have on hand. Since it would be hectic to make shepherd’s pie each time you have to urge to eat it. What could you do to curb the urge? Most times it hurts to know that we can’t prepare some food items beforehand. But this is not the case with Shepherd’s Pie.
Can you freeze Shepherd’s pie? Yes, you can. Shepherd’s pie can be frozen and kept in its best quality for about 2 months. The potato crust may be affected by the freezing and can become grainy upon thawing. But if you don’t mind the change in texture, it doesn’t affect the taste or flavor.
Shepherd’s pie is organic and filled with healthy vegetables that would do your body some good. It doesn’t matter if your pie is store-bought or homemade it would freeze well.
How to Freeze Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie can be frozen without any fuss. You don’t need any special equipment or lengthy preparation before you freeze. It also doesn’t require a long time investment.
If you want to do some premeditated freezing so you can have some shepherd’s pie on hand, you can freeze the pie without the crusting so you can avoid the grainy texture that comes with it after thawing. The mashed potatoes can be added to the frozen shepherd’s pie before you reheat.
Step 1: Follow the Recipe and Cool it Down
Follow the recipe for your shepherd’s pie and bake as instructed. There are different variations to Shepherd’s pie. Some people replace the lamb meat with ground beef or another alternative. The filling of the pie could also be substituted for your taste.
After baking the shepherd’s pie, wait for it to sit and cool down. You can’t rush this process. If you freeze the pie while it’s still warm, it could condense and cause your pie to become soggy. The presence of moisture in your pie can also result in a faster formation of mold. So, let the pie cool down completely to room temperature before you freeze it.
You can decide to opt-out of the mashed potatoes and add them after freezing.
Step 2: Storage
Once your pie has cooled down to room temperature, the next thing to do is to store it properly. You can store your shepherd’s pie in the pan in which it was baked, or portion it and transfer it into freezer-friendly plastic containers.
It is very important to keep your shepherd’s pie from the cold harsh air in the freezer. So, you need to ensure that if you would be using plastic containers, they are airtight and will not keep the flavor from food that you have previously stored in there. When you store your pie in freezer-friendly plastic containers, wrap the container with cling film to further help you protect the pie.
Storing shepherd’s pie in a baking pan before freezing makes reheating easier and faster. But before you place the pan in the freezer, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil to prevent the pie from getting freezer burn.
Step 3: Freezing
Your pie only has a shelf life of two months even in the freezer. Labeling the container before you froze it would help you to remember how long you have had it frozen in case you had lost sight of it in the freezer.
Label the container with the content and date of the freeze so you would not forget what you have frozen and when you froze it. After you label the container, you can place it into the freezer to freeze.
Shepherd’s pie will last for longer than 2 months if the temperature of your freezer is kept at a steady 0°F. But since you can’t be absolutely sure of the internal temperature of your freezer at all times, stick to eating the pie before the two months elapses.
How to Reheat Frozen Shepherd’s Pie
Having your frozen Shepherd’s pie for eating again is very easy. But you need to do some premeditation. Leave your pie in the freezer to thaw overnight before you reheat it in a preheated oven.
To reheat your thawed pie, preheat your oven to 350°F or 400°F and heat your shepherd’s pie till it has an internal temperature of 165°F. This could take about an hour depending on the density of the pie.
Whenever you crave some hot shepherd’s pie, having them frozen on hand would have been the best choice you made.
Can You Leave Shepherd’s Pie Out Overnight?
No, you can’t leave your shepherd’s pie out on the counter overnight. If you did that unintentionally, don’t eat it, or serve it to someone else as you would be putting your stomach or the other person’s stomach at risk.
Leaving shepherd’s pie out overnight would turn it into a breeding ground for bacteria that would make you sick.
How to Recognize Spoiled Shepherd’s Pie
Spoiled shepherd’s pie will give off an offensive smell and have a very odd appearance. If you have kept your pie out on the counter for too long or in the freezer, you can take a sniff at it to know if it has gone bad or not.
If you notice mold on the shepherd’s pie, don’t bother to check if it is spoiled or not. Just throw it out because the presence of mold means it has gone bad.
Eating spoiled food can cause food poisoning or illnesses related to food poisoning so, if you notice any food item that has gone bad, discard it.