Monday, March 4, 2013

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

There are many ways to make this classic dish, but for the most part it's ground meat and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes.  Simple.  My mom used to make this on a regular basis when we were kids.  My dad did most of the cooking at my house, but Shepherd's Pie belonged to my mom.  I make mine a little bit different than she makes hers, but I'll include both variations here. 

It really is a simple recipe, so if you've been intimidated to try it before, don't be anymore.  It's not supposed to be complicated and fancy.  It's comfort food.  It doesn't even have to look pretty, it just has to taste good.

Depending on how many people you need to feed, you can make this recipe in a large lasagna pan or casserole dish (about 2 quarts), or you can break it into two smaller  roasting pans and freeze one for later. 

Shepherd's Pie
(Serves 4-6)
Preheat Oven to 350F

Ingredients

Filling

1 kilo (2.2 lbs.) ground beef.  Use medium or lean, but not extra lean.  Moisture is important
2 cups mixed vegetables (peas, carrots & corn, or whatever you like)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 cup beef gravy (make sure it's GF.  I use Imagine Organic Gravy.)
1/4 cup ketchup
Salt and Pepper to taste

Topping

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters (I like a thick topping of potatoes)
1/4-1/2 cup milk (or dairy substitute)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)

***My mother doesn't put gravy in her pie.  I LOVE gravy in mine.  If you want to omit the gravy, increase the ketchup or add a bit of beef broth for moisture.  Much of the moisture will be absorbed during cooking. 

Directions

1- Put a large pot of water to boil.  While the water is heating, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat in a large frying pan until almost cooked through, approx. 15 min. Stir in the mixed vegetables and cook until beef is done. 

2- When water boils, add potatoes and cook until soft.  While potatoes are cooking, add ketchup and gravy (or other liquid) to the meat mixture. turn down heat to low and simmer, allowing the liquid to thicken a bit.  Season with salt and pepper.

3- Drain potatoes and return to pot.  Add 1/4 milk and nutmeg and mash, adding more milk if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper. 

4- Spoon meat mixture into baking dish and spread evenly.  Spread potato mixture over top and sprinkle with desired amount of grated cheese.  Put in the oven and cook until cheese is bubbly and potatoes are slightly browned, 20-30 min.  I check up on it every 15 min.  If you're freezing the pie, omit this step until reheating.

Let stand and serve with extra gravy or ketchup.  Enjoy!



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