I was in my mid-twenties before I had Shepherd’s Pie for the first time. I was a newlywed, working full time, and expecting my first child. And I suddenly had this idea to make Shepherd’s Pie for dinner. So I looked for a recipe.
Only it turns out that recipes for Shepherd’s Pie aren’t that common. And good recipes, well…don’t even bother. So I took the few decent recipes I could find and cobbled together dinner. And it was tasty…but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.
Fast forward a few years, a few kids, and I was thinking Shepherd’s Pie again. Having acquired a few (dozen) more cookbooks since the start of my marriage, I figured that surely one of them would have a good, definitive recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. So I looked. And again, I was stumped.
So, I did what I do when faced with recipes that just aren’t quite what I want: I mashed them up together. And – success! All of my tasters raved about this meal. And, I have to admit, this recipe – it was exactly what I was looking for. Here’s to tasty second chances!
What you need:
- For the mashed potatoes:
- 2 lbs. yellow gold or russet potatoes, peeled, in large chunks
- 1/2-1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4-1/2 c. milk (or heavy cream or half & half)
- 3/4 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. ground white pepper
- 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- fresh parsley or chives (optional)
- paprika (optional), for sprinkling on top before baking
- For the beef filling:
- 2 T. vegetable oil
- 1 large (or 2 small) sweet onion, chopped
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 T. flour
- 1/2 t. rosemary
- 1/2 t. thyme
- 1/2 t. sage
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 1 t. kosher salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- 2 T. ketchup
- 2 t. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 c. beef broth
- 1 c. frozen peas
- 1 c. frozen corn
- cutting board and knife
- saucepan and potato masher
- large skillet and heat-proof spoon
- measuring cups and spoons
- 9″x13″ casserole dish
Time: About 45 minutes prep times and 20 minutes baking time.
Multiplying the recipe: You could easily double the filling and potatoes and divide them between two 9″x13″ casseroles.
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and pour water over them just to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.
While the potatoes are simmering, heat the oil in a skillet and add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until everything is beginning to soften. Add the garlic and beef. Stir to break up the beef and cook until browned. Drain off any accumulated fat.
Add the flour, rosemary, thyme, sage, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and onion powder to the beef mixture and stir to coat the beef thoroughly. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Stir; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the broth thickens. Mix in the peas and corn.
Meanwhile, mash the potatoes with the butter, milk, salt, and pepper. If desired, stir in the cheese and/or parsley or chives.
Place the meat mixture in a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, spreading to the edges to seal the meat mixture in. If desired, sprinkle the top with paprika.
Bake for 425F for 20 minutes, until bubbly.