Aug 6, 2011

Posted by in Recipes | 2 Comments

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

I had never heard of shepherd’s pie until I’d seen Sunny Anderson make it on her Food Network show, Cooking for Real; the first time I saw her make it, I needed to try it, it looked SO good.  The idea to me is spectacular, to combine the comfort of mashed potatoes with crunchy vegetables and melted cheese, along with juicy hamburger meat.  The dish is a comfort in and of itself; it requires no side dish or extra frills, just a tall glass of cold milk.

This dish, specifically, is an adaptation on Sunny’s original that I tried when I first discovered the wonders of shepherd’s pie. I kicked up the flavor level on the mashed potatoes, adding cheese and green onions; I left the skins on the potatoes to not only give it a little extra flavor, but also to add to it’s nutritional value.  I kept the vegetables as they were, but they could be substituted with almost any other vegetables; I’ve heard the original version (from England, I believe) is made with peas and carrots; I bet corn would be tasty as well.  Every ingredient in this recipe could be personalized in some way, and changed to fit your taste preferences, so if you’re not crazy about it, read it through and get creative, it’ll still turn out great!

This is one of those dishes I like to make on a Monday night (Monday is my last day off of the weekend, then it’s back to work Tuesday through Friday), because I get to spend some time in the kitchen, and I have leftovers for a couple of extra meals.  Shepherd’s pie is great when refrigerated and reheated; it’ll keep for a few days, if there’s any left!

Originally posted December 2nd, 2010.

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs red potatoes, washed and cut into chunks (you can peel them if you prefer, but I’d recommend leaving at least most of the skins on; choose your amount, depending on how thick you want this layer to be)

2 cloves garlic, smashed

Salt & pepper

6 tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

2 scallions, chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 ½ lbs ground beef

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp tomato paste

½ cup low-sodium beef broth

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, julienned*

2 zucchini, julienned*

2 medium carrots, peeled & grated

1 tsp paprika

4 ounces Havarti or mozzarella cheese, grated

Optional: sour cream and/or Tabasco sauce, for garnish

**I julienned, then cut each piece into three (pictured below)

 

What to do:

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil; when butter melts, add beef, Worcestershire, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is browned; stir in tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.

 

 

Add stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, allowing the beef to absorb the liquid. Then remove from heat and move to a large bowl (remove only the meat to the bowl, leave the liquids in the pan).

 

 

Next, get the potatoes started while prepping the rest of the ingredients. Cover potatoes and crushed garlic with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-high and cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.

 

 

While the potatoes are cooking, prep the remaining ingredients. Chop the onion first, so it can start cooking while you’re working on the other veggies. In the same skillet used to cook the beef, add remaining butter (2 tbsp) and oil (1 tbsp); sauté onions until almost tender (5-7 minutes).

 

 

While the onions are cooking, cut the red pepper and zucchini. Julienne both first, cutting into long matchsticks (as shown below).

 

 

Then cut each long matchstick in half. Repeat this process with the zucchini, and you should finish just as the onions are finishing up.

 

 

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Add the red bell pepper, zucchini, carrots, and paprika to the skillet with the onions. Cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes; remove from heat.

 

 

By this time, the potatoes should be finished. Remove from heat, drain and return to pot.

 

 

Mash potatoes with 3 tbsp unsalted butter, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside and keep warm.

 

 

In a 9”x12” baking dish, make a layer of beef on the bottom, and cover with some of the shredded cheese.

 

 

Next, add a layer of about half of the vegetables.

 

 

Add another layer of beef, cheese, veggies, and a little more cheese. Spread mashed potatoes over the top and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
This is what it should look like before and after cooking in the oven. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before cutting into it, so that the juices have a chance to settle and the crust on top of the mashed potatoes will harden a bit.

 

 

Optional garnish: sour cream and/or Tabasco sauce.  Enjoy!

 

Finished product:

 

 

The term cottage pie emerged in 1791, when potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor. Shepherd’s pie appeared in the 1870s; the principal ingredient being lamb (hence shepherd); since then both terms have been used synonymously, regardless of whether the principal ingredient was beef or lamb.


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  1. A few years ago I’d have to pay someone for this infromatoin.

  2. I love shepards pie. I have always like to include corn in mine however some members of the family can not eat corn so I used carrots and pea’s as you mentioned above however I never thought to use zucchini! I will have to try that because I prefer them to peas anyday. thanks for the tip!

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