Shepherd’s Pie

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I fell in love with shepherd’s pie when I was in high school. Well technically, I fell in love with cottage pie and this recipe is for cottage pie. Shepherd’s pie is an English dish and the filling is made with lamb or mutton, but I’m going to call it shepherd’s pie anyway. According to Simply Recipes’ the Americans used beef instead because they (I say they because I am indeed full Japanese, born and bred) are more of a beef eating culture than a mutton eating culture. I’d gone to Dean and Deluca with my mom and they had premade single servings or shepherd’s pie. I tried it and thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It was just so delicious! The savory-ness of the meat and gravy mixed with the vegetables and the pillowy mounds of melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes on top. What could be better? I have no idea. Alas, Dean and Deluca stopped making the shepherd’s pie or rather, I could no longer find it in their deli display cases, so I was shepherd’s pie less for many a year. I finally got the courage to try it after reading a recipe for it in the new Food Network Magazine issue and today while at work, I decided, to heck with it. I’m going to make a shepherd’s pie and I did. Besides, I had some vegetables left from when I made chicken pot pie. Alls I needed to do was get the ground beef and a few other things. So I made it and it was delicious. I did use Alton Brown’s recipe as a guide/jumping point though🙂

So let’s get started!

Ingredients*:

-1 1/2 lb of ground beef
-About 1/2 a bag of mini carrots (that’s about 2-3 large carrots)
-1-2 cups mushrooms
-1 1/2 cups frozen peas
-2 cloves garlic
-1 onion
-2 tbsp AP flour
-1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup chicken broth
-2 tbsp EVOO
-1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
-2 tsp tomato paste
-Salt and pepper to taste
* I eyeballed most of these veggies)
Mashed potatoes:
-Around 10 mini potatoes (5-7 large potatoes)
-4 tbsp unsalted butter
-1/4 cup half and half
-garlic salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly and, although I didn’t do this, if you want to, peel and cut the potatoes into quarters. FIll a stockpot with enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and can easily be broken up with a fork.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, dice the carrots, onion, and mushrooms and set aside. They should be roughly the same size. Dice the garlic. In a large pan, heat the oil and add in the onion and the carrots. After the onions begin to become translucent, add in the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add in the mushrooms and the peas and cook until the peas have thawed. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. In the same pan, sans vegetables, cook the beef until it’s no longer pink but a light brown. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir to coat. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and, in the same stockpot, begin to break them up. Add in the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and mix until you get the desired consistency of mashed potatoes. I know some like theirs super creamy with no lumps and others like some lumps, so just go with what you want.
  5. In a large baking dish, layer the vegetables on the bottom, top with the meat and then spread the mashed potatoes on top. Make sure to create a seal around the edges to keep the filling from bubbling up (I ended up not making enough mashed potatoes, so that the meat juice kind of bubbled up and over the mashed potato topping). You can also pipe the mashed potatoes on top if you’d like. I may try that next time.
  6. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes brown. You can also just turn on the broiler afterwards if the filling is sufficiently hot, but the mashed potatoes haven’t browned.

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This was a pretty decent shepherd’s pie. I’m definitely going to have to tweak the amounts of spices and I think next time I’ll add some celery and get rid of some the of peas (I had a little too much). I might also get a smaller baking dish because I think the reason why I lacked mashed potatoes was because I had an too large container. Whoops. Oh well, if at first you don’t suceed, try, try again right? I hope you have as much success I have about this shepherd’s pie. I do think maybe I’ll use beef broth next time and see how that goes. I’ll let you know!

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Until then, hugs and puppies!

Mimi

P.S I kind of got offered an internship position at Delish magazine. Unfortunately I already have a internship (T.E.A.L), but this Delish Magazine internship is more appealing to me because, well, I have more passion for food than ovarian cancer. I mean Ovarian cancer is a good cause to get behind, but seeing as I want to work in a food magazine when I graduate, I feel like Delish magazine will be more beneficial for me. What do you think?

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