Alright, first off, I realize this is not an “actual” shepherd’s pie. They contain lamb (shepherd-sheep-duh).
What I’m making is more like a red-headed stepchild of the cottage pie.
Whatever it is, I call it shepherd’s pie and this is how I make it.
Peel and chop up some potatoes to make mashed potatoes. You don’t want a ton you just need a layer to top the pie so it depends on the size of your dish.
Next up – brown your ground meat. I’ve got a tad over a pound of hamburger. Now is the time to sneak in any vegetables you want to add – mushrooms, green pepper, anything that looks like it could slip in there. I wouldn’t normally use purple onion but that’s what’s in the fridge so that’s what’s in the pie. I’ve also added a carrot, 2 celery stalks and a couple of green onions that need using. Use whatever your family likes. Brown it all up nicely.
Now we need a sauce. I usually use a can of tomato soup but I happened to have a tomato based broth in the refrigerator from an earlier meal. It was thin so I’m adding some tomato paste to thicken it up. I will freeze the remainder of the paste in a bag and flatten it out so I can chunk off pieces as I need them. I almost made the soup a bit too thick so I’m adding a splash of red wine to the rescue. As I’m writing, I’m realizing I forgot to add a glug of Worcestershire sauce. Basically, season as you see fit… salt, pepper, the usual suspects. Add the soup sauce to the ground meat mixture.
The bottom layer of the pie is going to be green beans. For normal eating I use fresh or frozen because I like the texture. Something about casseroles just screams for canned vegetables. Drain 2 cans and toss them in the bottom of your dish.
Top those with your meat sauce.
Onto the potatoes.
Again, normally if I’m just eating the potatoes as a stand alone I would add all sorts of butter, maybe some sour cream or half and half. Here though, it’s not really needed because the rest of the dish is more the star. Besides, we will be topping everything with cheese, as per usual. So mash ‘em up. Spoon ‘em on top of the meat stuff. Grate some cheese. I use cheddar. Put on as much as you feel comfortable with. I’m not here to judge. Stick it in the oven at the traditional 350 degrees . I cover it until it looks like it’s heated through (you know, bubbly and steamy) and then uncover to brown up the cheese.
That’s it – another one dish wonder! It’s got everything you need in there – meat and potatoes, vegetables and dairy. You might want to add a salad or something. I might want to read a book instead.
Chow and Ciao!