Shepherd’s Pie Remix

We have some crazy weeks ahead in the Culbreth house. We’ll be with friends and family more days this month than not and I’m could not be more thankful. Because our weeks won’t be “normal” in terms of groceries and cooking we’re making do with what we have in the pantry and fridge while buying only staples that can be incorporated in several different meals.
We’ve made Shepherd’s Pie a few times and though I’ve always liked it it hasn’t necessarily been a favorite. I find it can be a little bland, dry, and overall boring. Leftover from last week we had plain baking potatoes and some sweet potatoes that I boiled and mashed together with some cheese and whole milk for the topping. The combination of flavors was amazing and has in one swoop made this a new quick go-to. Chris rocked out an amazing gravy and meat/veggie mix that was basically a mouth party. Adding cheese and herbs to the potato topping helped make the dish more savory and filling.
Below is the link and recipe that we adapted from. See our changes in red font.
Ingredients
2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed 
2 large baking potatoes, rinsed but not peeled and 2 sweet potatoes, rinsed and peeled
2/3 c mild or sharp cheddar cheese-shredded2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese omit
1 large egg yolk omit
1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth substitute with milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan omit
1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb roughly 3 lbs
1 carrot, peeled and chopped 5 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped 1/2 onion
2 tablespoons butter 4 T butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 4 T flour
1 cup beef stock or broth 2 c stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls 1 c peas
2 stalks celery
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Directions
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth. Boil sweet and baking potatoes until tender. Add 2/3 c. shredded cheese and milk, 1 T dried parsley and salt/pepper to taste. Mix with hand mixer until smooth. Adjust seasonings as needed.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approx 20-30 minutes or until carrots are tender

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/30-minute-shepherds-pie-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Note: This recipe makes a large batch. Would easily serve a dinner party of 8-10. You’ll need to use two baking dishes -13″ x 9″ – to adequately hold the food. 
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