Shepherd’s Pie is a classic recipe with fluffy mashed potatoes, gooey cheese and a secret meat filling underneath.
When I was growing up, we had “family night” every Sunday at 5_30pm. It was a joyous weekly event of playing with my cousins, chatting with the adults and having the occasional family brawl over topics on ’60 Minutes’. Regardless, it was a time that we would all be together without fail sharing food and fun. Every woman in the family (of course none of the men in the McCord clan cooked unless it was something that could be burned on a barbeque grill) had their own special recipes and for one of my aunts, it was shepherd’s pie.
I’ll be honest, I remember the first few times I walked up to the buffet line I would scrape off as much of the mashed potatoes and cheese for myself as possible, leaving the veggies and meat at the bottom for someone else to eat. I wasn’t a picky kid, but I knew what I loved.
Lately, some of my girlfriends have been starting a new tradition of
Wednesday night dinner with some of the neighborhood families. Last week I decided to make shepherd’s pie to see if any of the veggies and meat would make it to the kids’ plates. I was kind of shocked. Of course Kenya ate almost every bite (I’m either blessed or cursed that this child will eat anything), but the other kids seemed to enjoy it too, peas and all.
Shepherd’s pie is such a great family dish because you can puree it up for a baby and the toddlers, big kids and adults can enjoy it in its solid form.
Packed with protein, veggies and carbohydrates, it really is an all-in -one meal. My version of shepherd’s pie is on the healthy side. I love mashed potatoes as much as the next person, but a stick of butter and heavy cream seems a little too rich for my blood for a stay-at -home meal, so I’ve played with it to keep the flavor, but reduce a lot of the fat. So, now everyone in the family can enjoy weelicious recipes, be healthy and leave the table with full bellies!
- 4 potatoes, russet or Idaho, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 carrot, cut in 1/4 in coins
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup beef stock (or 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of warm water)
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup peas, defrosted if frozen
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt to the water, if desired. Add the potatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.
- Mash the potatoes through a ricer, or by hand, into the pot. Add the milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter and mash until smooth. Set aside.
- While the potatoes cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the beef with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and discard the fat in the skillet.
- Heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the large bowl.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet, still over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the resulting roux is golden. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce and whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Add the beef and vegetable filling to the sauce and stir to combine.
- Transfer the filling to 6 to 8 individual ramekins or a large 2 quart casserole dish.
- Sprinkle with the peas, then spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with the cheese.
- 10 Bake 30 minutes for the large casserole or 15 minutes for individual ramekins or until top is golden and bubbly.