Shepherd's Pie: Delicious, humble, perfect for a winter's night family dinner.

 

 

Shepherd’s Pie is a simple, even humble one pot dinner that is sure to warm your winter and your family’s heart. What better way to serve ground beef?

Ingredients

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 onion, chopped

• 1 finely grated carrot

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 teaspoon dried thyme

• 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon pepper

• 2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon (or 2 beef cubes)

• 1 can beef broth

• 1/2 cup of water

• 1 pound lean ground beef

• 1/2 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour

• 2 tablespoons Worcester Sauce

• 1 cup frozen vegetables (preferably peas but corn can be used)

• 3 cups cooked, warm, mashed potatoes

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 2/3 cup warm milk or equivalent amount of milk and cream or half and half.

• 1 thawed sheet of frozen pastry

Directions

1. Heat oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, rosemary, garlic and half of the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

2. Crumble meat into pan with the onion etc. and cook until brown all over. If it refuses to brown add Paprika to encourage it. You need the color for the gravy. Simmer for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk together remainder of the salt and pepper, flour, Worcester Sauce, beef bouillon, beef broth, and water. Add to meat, stir until gravy thickens and colors to a delicious dark brown. The gravy needs to be thick and flavorful. Flavor can sometimes elude this dish, the carrot adds a touch of sweetness (my Scottish cousins taught me this tip). Transfer the meat and gravy to a 9-inch (23-cm) baking dish.

3. Add a layer of the frozen vegetables across the top of the meat and gravy mixture. Yes frozen, don’t cook or thaw them first.

4. Whip the potatoes with the warm milk (or cream or half and half if you are feeling decadent), season with salt and pepper and butter until very fluffy. Pile potatoes over meat mixture to cover it completely. Mound the potatoes and rake them upwards with a fork to pattern the potatoes. Cut 4 large leaves, and 4 small leaves from pastry. Add to top of pie, add a floweret to the center, or small balls of pastry. Brush pastry with milk. Bake for 35 minutes or until potatoes and pastry are golden.

5. If desired you can add grated cheese over the top 10 minutes before the pie is cooked. You can add it just on the potatoes around the pastry flower, or over the entire top, mild or sharp cheese according to your taste.

6. Serve warm and enjoy with fresh crusty bread.

Option: Make separate "pies" for each family member in small oven safe dishes.

Make ahead and refrigerate, simply heating later. 

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