I have been battling a horrible cold for the past week and was in desperate need of some comfort food. Being that I was in danger of the family making me some boxed meal, I dragged myself off the couch and decided to make something myself. When I think of comfort food, one of the dishes I think of is Shepherd’s Pie. The reason is two-fold. First, who doesn’t like meat swimming in gravy topped with cheesy mashed potatoes? Shepherd’s Pie checks all those boxes. Second, it brings back warm memories of when I lived in England. I went to a boarding school, London Central High School (LCHS), where I developed wonderful lasting relationships with some amazing people. I didn’t intend to update my blog (I’m also trying to finish my dissertation), however, after posting a picture of the completed Shepherd’s Pie on a social network site last night, I was publicly shamed by my friend Charles (LCHS alum). He, not so gently, reminded me that I haven’t posted any recipes to my blog in the past 6 months! The recipe is loosely adapted from an antique cook book (Radiation Cookery Book) that my friend Chris (LCHS alum) brought me back from England on a recent visit. Cheers Charles and Chris!
**I’ll try to add a recipe later for homemade gravy, but now the dissertation is calling me.
1lb. – ground beef (or any type of ground meat. I’ve even made it with a meat substitute before)
1 – large onion, diced
1 cup – cooked carrots, diced
1 cup – cooked green beans, diced (I would use peas, but my family doesn’t like them)
1 cup – brown gravy (I make my own, but you can use store bought if you want)
2 – cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon – tomato paste
1 teaspoon – Worcester sauce (optional)
3 pounds – Yukon gold potatoes, cooked (peeled and diced)
2 – eggs, beaten
¾ cup – milk, warmed
¼ cup – butter, melted
1 cup – shredded cheddar (this isn’t traditional of course, but you know, I am American. We like a bit of excess)
¼ cup – grated (not shredded) Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Put potatoes in large pot with 1 teaspoon of salt and enough water to just cover the potatoes. After potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes), drain them and then mash with the butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. I love using a food mill for potatoes, but you can mash them by hand or use a stand mixer. You want them smooth. Set aside to cool.
On medium-high heat, brown ground beef with onion and garlic until no longer pink and then drain any excess fat. Add tomato paste, Worcester sauce (optional), and prepared gravy. Gently mix in cooked carrots and green beans. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the meat mixture and place at the bottom of a quart sized glass casserole dish and smooth out, set aside.
Take the cooled potato mixture and add the beaten eggs. Gently fold in the cheddar cheese. Then place the potato mixture on top of the meat mixture. To make it more decorative, I put the potato mixture in a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe it on top of the meat mixture. If you do this, you need to make sure that the potato mixture is free of lumps. You can also make a nice design by just putting equal sized dollops of potato mixture using a spoon.
Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly (photo is of Shepherd’s Pie prior to being baked).