Shepherds pie has always been the sort of meal I took for granted. Effortlessly, my mother would whip it together in a heartbeat: Boil the potatoes, brown the meat, add the veggies, mash the taters, cup the cheese and voila–molten cheese atop perfect potato ridges, and delicious meaty goodness. Unlike mac and cheese, or other “comfort” type foods, this dish never saw a bad day. Nadia Fortune has literally nailed it for as long as I can remember.
Although it’s always been one of my favorite meals, once I left for college I realized shepherds pie was not a staple in most households. In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I gift you all with a festive recipe to remember. As a proud British descendant, I also urge you to keep this on the menu as often as possible!
S H E P H E R D S P I E
1 1/2 Pound ground meat*
1 Garlic Clove
4 Sprigs of fresh thyme (yields approximately 1 teaspoon)
1 Cup beef broth
2 Cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon flour
6 Medium sized potatoes
1/4 Cup milk
1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 Block cheddar cheese
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Note: *Today we used ground venison but ground beef is pretty standard and ground turkey works well too.
For the Potatoes
- Wash, peel and cut potatoes into quarters. Place into a large pot with a pinch of salt and boil on high (without the lid).
- Once the potatoes can be pierced with a fork (about 20 minutes of boil time), turn off the burner and pour out the water. Mash potatoes with a large fork, mixing in milk, butter, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove all lumps.
For the Meat and Vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop fresh garlic and onion and place into a large pan with olive oil on and set the temperature to high. Let this cook for 2 minutes.
- Turn temperature to medium and add the ground meat of your choosing. Season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.
- Once the meat has browned, add 1 cup of beef broth to the pan, cover with the lid, and turn the temperature to medium-low. Once the broth begins to simmer, pour flour into the pan sifting 1/2 tablespoon at a time, slowly working it in to create a roux.
- Bring frozen vegetables to temperature (either in the microwave or in a separate pan on the stove). Add vegetables into the pan with the meat.
- Pour the contents of the meat and vegetable pan into a baking dish (8×8 square or 10×8 round should fit well)
- Scoop potatoes on top of the meat and smooth down with a fork. (Note: If you don’t like the way your potato plops look, scoop potatoes into a large zip lock bag and snip one corner with a pair of scissors. Hold the main body of the bag firmly, and pipe the potatoes onto the meat instead).
- Place baking dish into the oven set to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, place cheese slices on top of the golden potatoes and turning the oven to broil for 3 minutes.
- Remove baking fish from the oven and let this cool for 5 minutes. Once the meal has been severed, add a size of Bushes baked beans (I know it sounds crazy) and enjoy!