Shepard’s Pie


Shepard’s Pie is simple.  Classic.  Comfort.  

Simple in the fact that it can be easily prepared, even made ahead of time and reheated when ready to eat.

Classic being this dish has been made for centuries, also known as Cottage Pie.   Shepard’s Pie, or Cottage Pie can be prepared with lamb in place of ground beef which we commonly use.  

Comfort.  Nothing says comfort more than a mashed potatoes piled on top of tender ground beef simmering in a flavorful beef broth.  

This past weekend we finally had our first major snowfall of the season.  It was still nothing in comparison to what us Buffalonians are accustomed to but it left its mark and about ten inches outside our front door.  I love snowy winter days when you can just stay cozy inside at home.  Now ask me that question in a few months and I may feel differently but considering we have had a mild winter here in the Northeast,  I welcome a wintry day.  

While watching the snow fall softly out the window it was the perfect day to prepare this classic dish.  My version of Shepard’s Pie is prepared using a lean ground beef that is cooked with onions and garlic.  A few cups of frozen peas and carrots make for a simple dish of ingredients that are typically on hand.  These ingredients are all combined in one large skillet with a simple beef gravy and topped with creamy mashed potatoes.  I portion this into simple individual sized dishes and give them a quick zap in the oven to complete the dish.   

This is your classic meat and potatoes dish all in one.     Enjoy!


Shepard’s Pie

Ingredients
For Potato Topping

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cream cheese
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For Meat Mixture
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup frozen sliced carrots or crinkled carrots, thawed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed 
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Add water to a medium pot with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and 2 whole garlic cloves and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain water and add potatoes and garlic back into pot.  Add in butter, cream cheese, half and half, salt and pepper.  Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until creamy.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together ground beef, salt, pepper, parsley flakes and onion powder until combined.  

In a small bowl or cup, whisk beef broth and flour until flour is dissolved.   Set aside.  
Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet.  Over medium heat add onion and minced garlic and cook until onions are slightly tender, about 3 minutes.  Add in ground beef and cook until beef is brown.  Drain any liquid from the skillet and add in peas and carrots and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Stir in beef broth mixture and tomato paste and stir until combined with meat and sauce thickens.  

Transfer meat to a large casserole dish and spread evening.  Top with mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Place casserole dish in oven and cook until cheese is melted, about 15-20 minutes.  

Notes-
For make ahead version after topping with mashed potatoes cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees, remove cover off dish and bake until heated through, add cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted.   


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