Sheperd’s pie is a comfort food and I love eating it during fall and winter. I made this new recipe last night. It’s not like my mom’s but I liked the variety. The recipe called for lamb and I just used ground beef and it was fabulous.
1 to 1 1/2 lb. ground lamb (I used ground beef)
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine (I didn’t have red wine and used red wine vinegar, but use 1/4 cup at the most if you do)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp.)
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, finely minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
salt, if needed
For mashed potatoes:
2 lbs. russet potatoes, unpeeled and left whole
2-4 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar (we like Tillamook Special Reserve)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground lamb, onion, carrots, and garlic. Lower heat as necessary and cook until lamb cooks through. Add the beef broth, wine, tomato paste, thyme and rosemary. Lower to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced quite a bit, as long as 30-45 minutes. Season with black pepper, to taste, and add any salt, if needed. Remove the thyme stem.
While lamb is cooking, prepare the mashed potatoes. When the lamb is finished cooking, transfer to a deep-sided casserole. (I used a 3 quart enameled cast iron casserole pan.)
For mashed potatoes:
Place the potatoes on a large pot and cover with water by a few inches. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are very tender. Drain the water and carefully peel using a sharp paring knife. (Note: you can do this ahead of time and allow the potatoes to cool a bit before handling and peeling.)
Mash the potatoes with a masher and add the butter and enough milk for a good consistency. You don’t want these to be too wet, so go easy on the milk. Add salt and taste.
Spoon mashed potatoes over the lamb and spread to the sides of the pan. Top with the cheddar and bake at 400 degrees until bubbling all over and the cheese has browned.
Serve hot. Makes enough for 8.
Note: The meat and mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time and assembled without the cheese. Just add extra baking time.