I’m finally sharing another recipe!! Shepherd’s Pie is a favorite cozy dish of mine! What is there not to like: lamb, veggies, mashed potatoes, and in my version cheese (of course). This dish is so warm and filling, perfect for a chilly evening. It is a little time consuming since it requires a multiple steps but is not overly complicated.
The base recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking, which I love. I like that it is organized by product, like meats or vegetables. It is great for those CSA boxes, since you can look up xyz veggie and get an idea of how to cook it and handle it. I find this book very instructive for the beginner. It takes a bit of fear out of handling the unknown.
Now onto this Shepard’s Pie. The Joy of Cooking recipe uses water for the potatoes instead of having to add milk, saving me from having to figure out what else to use the milk for. I of course use more butter than called for and add a few other items not found in their recipe. You can use ground beef for this recipe, but then you have to make sure to call it Cottage Pie. The Shepard’s Pie Authority will fine you or you will be cursed, or some other unpleasantness 🙂 I make mine in a 8×8 inch casserole dish, if you are making it in something larger you may need more potatoes. I like my potato to meat ratio to be fairly even so a pound of potatoes usually leaves me with a bit left over. I also have a bias of celery over carrots, so mine is a bit more celery heavy, about a cup to a cup and half of each is a good ratio for the veggies. I do use quite a bit of salt in my recipe, you should do to taste. Even with what I use, we usually salt and pepper our final portions. In regards to the butter, you could certainly use less in the potatoes and not add it to the top at all. I think it does add a lot of flavor (because that is what butter does!). The original recipe only mashes in 1 tablespoon of butter, so up to you 🙂 I strongly, strongly recommend fresh herbs, it makes all the difference in the flavor (which is why I did not list the dry equivalent).
- 2-3 large russet potatoes (yukon would also work just make sure to get a pound+, red is not recommended as they are a bit less creamy)
- 1/2 cup of water potatoes were boiled in
- 1 yellow onion (med)
- 3 stalks celery
- 1-2 carrots
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 3/4 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 4 tablespoons salted butter + 2 tablespoons for topping
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use sunflower)
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh grated cheese (I used aged white cheddar this time but also like parmesan, sharper and salty works well)
- salt and pepper
Step 1: Peel, wash, and dice the potatoes into quarters (the smaller the dice, faster they will cook). Fill large pot with water, add potatoes, bring to boil, lower temp as to avoid boil over and boil until tender. This will be about 15 minutes depending on how small or large you cut the potato. Start Step 2. When potatoes are soft, turn off heat, dip out 1/2 cup of the water (set aside), drain potatoes in colander, and return to pot. Add in 4 tablespoons of butter, salt to taste (i used about 1-2 tablespoons), start with 1/4 cup of potato water, and mash away, add more water if necessary for desired consistency. These potatoes are a bit drier than your normal mashed potatoes you might eat as a side dish.
Step 2: Peel carrots and dice, dice celery, and onion. Place large skillet over medium/medium low heat, and add oil, let heat for a minute and add carrots, celery and onion. Season with about a tablespoon of salt. Mince the garlic and add in about 5 minutes later. Cook vegetables until soften about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Add lamb to vegetable mixture, add tablespoon of salt and pepper. Turn heat up to medium/medium-high. Cook lamb, breaking it apart, until browned, and cooked through. Remove from heat and discard excess grease, it is usually not too much.
Step 4: Return to medium heat, add in 1 tablespoon flour and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Start to think about preheating the oven.
Step 5: Add in beef broth, rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to simmer, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Step 6: Allow meat mixture to cool a little (I usually only wait about 5 minutes). Spoon meat mixture in bottom of un-greased casserole dish, spread potatoes on top, dot with 2 tablespoons of butter and spread grated cheese on top. Place in 400°F oven and cook for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes….grab a bowl and dig in.
What is your favorite chilly weather meal?
My other go to cold weather dish is: