Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shepherds Pie ~ a recipe

It was a few years ago, I was newly married, my husband requested I make Shepherd's Pie for dinner.  I was sure he was joking.  Images of overcooked vegetables, potatoes and some sort of fear of mince meat mingled in my mind.  He did his best to describe the process and with a blind hope I made my first attempt.   For such an absolute flop, you would think it would have ended there.  However, he really was serious when he said he liked shepherd's pie, so I tried and tried and finally landed on a family favorite.  A couple things I learned from the first - It's better to cook the corn, fresh raw kernels do not cook while in the oven and adding a gravy really enhances the flavor and keeps it from drying out.

I work nights and try to make an easy meal that my husband can heat up while he has our screaming banshees hanging from both arms.  This is their favorite and he never has to push the kids to eat.  Lot's of wins here.

I hope you enjoy.

~ Shepherd's Pie

1.5 lbs ground beef
3 outrageously large russet potatoes
2 cups whole corn kernels
1/2 block cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/3 cup half and half
1 T beef bouillon
2t corn starch or 3T flour
4 T butter
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Total time 1 hour, 30 min prep 30 min in the oven

For a one pot meal there are a ridiculous amount of pots required in the prep process.  You can make it in the morning and bake it in the evening which is pretty wonderful.  The cleanup is only 10 min if you hand wash all the pots and knives and such.

Fill a large pot with enough salted water to cover one inch above your peeled and cubed russet potatoes.  I've used yukon golds and red potatoes, you just need to adjust your cook time.  With my one inch cubes, I let the potatoes boil for 20 min.  I put the potatoes in cold salted water and then time from the moment the boil starts, I believe the whole process is 30 min.

Once the potatoes are in the water and on the stove, I start browning my meat.  Throw it in a pan add 1 1/2t garlic powder 1t salt 1/2t cracked pepper and cook through, about 10 min.

The water for the corn goes on at the same time.  2c salted water, bring to a boil, add 2c corn ( I use frozen, but you could absolutely use fresh, just cook for 5 min) boil 10 min.  When the corn is done just drain and leave it in the pot on the counter (hot pads will protect your counter, but that's on you).

When the meat is done put it in a 9 inch pirex pan or any casserole dish you like.  As soon as the meat is finished I start my gravy.

I do 2T butter, 1T beef bouillon and 3T flour, make a roux, then add 1 1/2 cups whole milk, cook on medium heat til just thickened.  Then pour over the ground beef.  I then dump and spread the corn over the meat and gravy.

                      Mashed Potatoes
The potatoes should be cooked all the way through at this point, drain them completely and then just dump back in the pot.  Add 1/2 a block cream cheese, 1/4-1/3cup half and half, 2T butter, 1/2t pepper, 1t salt then mix with a hand held mixer on high or mash with a masher.  You have your freedom to do whatever makes you happiest.

Then dump the potatoes on top of the meat and corn, spread them willy nilly till everything is covered.  If you like you could sprinkle some garlic powder and grated cheese over the top, but it's up to you.

Then place the pan in the oven at 375 and bake until the top starts to golden, about 30 - 40 minutes.

I like to eat this with a huge salad, but my kids prefer cucumber slices.  It feeds 4 adults.

It's super yummy and I hope you try it and enjoy.

A couple of modifications.

To make it gluten free, I omit the flour and mix 2t cornstarch with the cold milk then pour in to the butter and bouillon for the gravy.

You can use buttermilk or milk instead of half and half for the potatoes and on occasion I will do 1 cup ricotta instead of the cream cheese for the mashed potatoes.

I'm not much for following recipes, so feel free to tweak and have fun with however that looks for you.


1 comment:

Lacy Fontaine Photography said...

Ahhh I should make this for Alex! I bet he's appreciate a price of home!