Shepherd’s Pie (Fall Comfort Food)

The weather in southeastern PA is starting to cool off and that can only mean one thing… comfort food!  Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh summery pasta dishes and salads, but after a hot, humid August I am ready for Fall and all of the warm, hearty foods that come with it!

On Friday we kicked off our Fall food season with a delicious shepherd’s pie.*  We didn’t feel like grocery shopping after work so Matt searched around on the internet until he found a recipe on Food.com that used ingredients that we already had on hand.  The result was an all around solid dish.  It wasn’t amazingly gourmet and didn’t really have any “wow” factor, but it definitely satisfied my craving for a solid, comforting meal.  After all, how could you go wrong with ground beef covered in creamy, golden mashed potatoes?  🙂

*Shepherd’s pie is technically made with ground lamb, but we had ground beef so that’s what we used.  I think that a Shepherd’s Pie made with beef is called a Cottage Pie…?

Shepherd’s Pie (serves 6) (from Food.com)

You will need…
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
15-20 Baby Carrots, chopped into small discs (or use “real” carrots!)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
3-4 sprigs Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 lb. Ground Beef – we used 93% Lean
1 cup Frozen Peas
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons Butter, divided (or Butter Spread like Earth Balance)
1 glass Red Wine (we used a Pinot Noir)
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup Beef Stock (we only had chicken broth; would be better with beef stock!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
8-12 Small Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cup Fat Free Half & Half
1/2-3/4 cup Skim Milk
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped carrots and saute for a few minutes until they start to become tender.  Add in the onions and saute for another 1-2 minutes, then add in the black pepper and thyme and stir well.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.  Drain the beef if there is excess fat (there wasn’t with our 93% lean beef).

Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the peas and stir.  Sprinkle with flour, stir, and then add in the wine, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and stir again.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, allow to reduce for a few minutes, and then add in the stock.  Simmer the mixture for several more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture takes on a thick, meaty consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While you are waiting for the beef mixture to thicken, add the potatoes to a pot of boiling water and allow to boil for 10-12 minutes (or more, depending on the size of your potatoes) until fork-tender.  Drain the potatoes, return to the pot, add in the half & half, milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and mash with a potato masher until creamy and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the meat mixture into a 13 x 9 casserole pan and spoon the mashed potatoes over top.  Spread out the potatoes carefully to complete cover the meat.  If desired, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top of the potatoes.  Cook the Shepherd’s Pie for 30 minutes in a preheated 400°F oven.  In the last 3-5 minutes of cooking switch the oven to broil and put the Shepherd’s Pie until the broiler to give the potatoes and nice golden crust… yum!

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8 thoughts on “Shepherd’s Pie (Fall Comfort Food)

  1. I was thinking it was time for comfort food too.
    Yours looks lovely.

    Many years ago someone explained the differences to me, Shepherds pie is with lamb with mashed potatoes, the mashed potato represents the fleece of the sheep..

    Cottage pie is minced beef and sliced potato, the slices representing tiles of a cottage roof, and milkmans pie is made with veal and cream, (veal being milk fed and then cream used in the dish).I’m not sure whether it’s meant to be mashed potato or sliced potatoes though.

    I like mine with lots of white pepper and a yorkshire pudding to wipe up any leftover gravy..

    • Thanks for the info about the different types of pies! The cottage pie with sliced potato sounds delicious and that makes sense about the tiled roof. 🙂 I’ve never heard of milkmans pie but any type of pie with a yorkshire pudding sounds good to me!

  2. Pingback: Inspirations for St. Patrick’s Day Dinner | The Little GSP

  3. Pingback: Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes with Kale, Leeks and Ham) | The Little GSP

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