Monday, January 9, 2012

Shepherd's Pie - Quick, Easy, Delicious

Well, it's a new year and I am having a hard time getting back in the routine of things.  Sunday evening we came home after a busy day and I wanted comfort food.  You know, something with mashed potatoes - real mashed potatoes.  I never, ever make instant mashed potatoes at home.  Ever.  Why?  Because there is nothing like real mashed potatoes, I don't care how you doctor them up.  They are easy to make and there is a distinct difference between instant and mashed potatoes made from scratch.  As a potato connoisseur, I can tell the difference.  A friend argued with me once that I could not tell the difference, but I can.  It is just worth the extra effort to make mashed potatoes.  In my book, there is nothing quite as good.  

My first thought was to make a meat loaf, but I knew it would take way too long.  We were hungry and didn't want to wait several more hours to eat.  My next thought?  Shepherd's Pie.  Yummm.  One of our favorites and it's relatively quick and easy.   The beauty of Sheperd's Pie is that it combines your protein, starch and vegetable into one easy dish and has so much flavor.  It is also easy to reheat for leftovers.

I did a little research on Shepherd's Pie to find out why it has that name - mostly out of curiosity.  (I do that a lot)  I found that Shepherd's Pie was originally made from leftover meat (lamb) thus the name Shepherd's Pie since shepherds herd sheep.  When beef was used, it was called Cottage Pie.  The term Cottage Pie was first recorded in 1791 and Shepherd's Pie in 1877.  Now, we just call it all Shepherd's Pie. Whatever it's called, it's delicious.

Here is what you will need.  (This makes a 9 x 13 casserole full, but you can easily halve this for a smaller portion.)    Preheat oven to 350.


2 pounds ground beef (lamb, or turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup frozen green peas

4 cups mashed potatoes (use instant if you want to)  I make my mashed potatoes first, so they are ready to put on the casserole when the meat is finished cooking.

8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (grate my own because I like the way it melts and it's cheaper)


Brown ground beef in large pan.  Just as beef is almost done, add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Drain any fat.   Add rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.  Add green peas and mix thoroughly.  Place in 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Cover with mashed potatoes. Spread with back of spoon to evenly cover all of ground beef,
Next, cover with grated cheddar cheese and place in 350 degree oven until the cheese has melted.
Let the casserole sit for a few minutes and serve in bowls or on dinner plates.  This can also be made in individual serving ramekins if you prefer.  There is a restaurant in our neighborhood that has "Pie and a Pint" night and they make theirs in pie plates.  Do whatever suits your fancy.

This dish is so good with the sweetness of the green peas, and the creaminess of the mashed potatoes covered with melted cheese mixed with all the deliciously flavored meat.  Yum, yum, yum.  If you have picky eaters in your house (like our grandsons can be), give this dish a try.  It is filling and there are no scary ingredients in it that can make a dish "suspect" to little boys.  You know, things like MUSHROOMS.  This is comfort food at it's finest.  You can also make it ahead, keep it in the refrigerator and reheat when ready to serve.  Just wait and place the cheese on the potatoes when you place it in the oven to reheat.  We enjoyed ours with a spinach salad and hot crescent rolls.  Let me say, it truly hit the spot.  Comfort food desire fulfilled.

Give this casserole a try.  My three favorite words describe it - quick, easy, delicious. I think it will become a "go to" dish for you just like in our house.  Enjoy.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want.    Irish Toast

1 comment:

  1. I am going to make this soon. Probably over the weekend so my boyfriend and his family can enjoy it with me. I love shepard's pie. I will use ground turkey to make it less fatty. How many potatoes should I mash to make 4 cups? Just email me back on facebook. I love your everyday Donna blog. You are the best. Your favorite hairdresser....Karla DeSanti