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Shepherd’s Pie picture

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's pie is traditionally made with lamb - the same dish made with beef is sometimes called cottage pie. As far as comfort food goes, this is one of the best, whatever you call it. Make it ahead - it keeps well for a day or more.

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3

Ingredients

  • For the mashed potato topping:
  • 1 pound (or up to 1 1/2 pounds) potatoes (russet or Yukon Gold work well)
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
  • For the pie filling:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, preferably grass fed (or try bison)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Serves 4 to 6

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into fourths.  Place them in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by about an inch. Heat the pot over medium-high heat until the water is boiling, and then turn down the heat so it just simmers.
  2. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are soft when pricked with the tip of a sharp knife.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pie filling.  Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  When hot, add the ground beef.  Use a wooden spatula to break up any large clumps and cook the meat until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a bowl and discard any fat remaining in the pan.  Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
  5. In the same saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  When hot, add the carrots, onion, celery and thyme.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the vegetables are just starting to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes more.  While whisking, slowly add the beef stock to the pan.  Continue to whisk until any signs of flour clumps have disappeared.
  7. Raise the heat to medium and bring the liquid to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes so the sauce thickens slightly and then turn off the heat.
  8. Add the cooked ground beef and peas to the mixture.  Taste and season with salt and black pepper as desired.
  9. Once the potatoes have finished cooking, drain them and mash them using a food mill, ricer or potato masher.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon to fluff the potato and incorporate all ingredients.  Taste the potatoes and add more butter, milk and seasonings as desired.
  10. Assemble the pie by transferring the meat filing to an 8-cup (2-quart) baking dish.  Dollop the mashed potatoes on top and spread the potato over the entire surface.
  11. At this point you can refrigerate the Shepherd's Pie for up to 24 hours.  To bake the pie, preheat the oven to 375F.  Place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake the pie for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the potato topping has started to brown.  Serve hot.

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