As a kid, shepherd’s pie was one of my favorite meals. What’s not to love? Hearty, ground beef with vegetables and a bit of gravy, slathered in creamy mashed potatoes… Heaven, right? Homestyle Shepherd’s Pie is about as “comfort food” as you can get!
You’d think this would be a homestyle staple in our house. You’d be wrong. In fact, I haven’t had a shepherd’s pie since my Mom made them – oh so many years ago… and that’s a shame, because despite its humble ingredients, it’s absolutely spectacular!
I made this one for a blogger meeting I was going to one night. Picture a group of lady bloggers (most of them lifestyle and Mommy bloggers — I’m the only one who focuses on food) gathered around in the host kitchen, sipping wine, snacking on pot luck items and oohing and aahing over this shepherd’s pie.
Of course, while I was at my meeting, Scott was at home having to “fend for himself.” Naaaaa. I left a “hungry man” sized portion in a casserole dish just for him. He just needed to slip it into the oven to heat.
When I got home that night around 10:00, I asked him how his dinner was, to which he replied, “Good, but I didn’t know if you needed to “shoot” it, so I left most of it in the fridge.
I felt kinda bad — he didn’t know if he was “allowed” to eat the whole thing.
I told him I made it just for him – at which time he stood up, grabbed the dish from the fridge and nuked it. Then sat eating fork to mouth until the whole thing was devoured.
Funny, because for him it was just dinner. For the ladies at the blogger meet up — they were enthralled with “how I got the potatoes to look like that!”
It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a pastry bag and tips, right? And I’m not even particularly adept at using them…
Don’t feel pressured into using a pastry bag though — a spatula and some swirly motions will give you equally stellar results.
Before baking the casserole, I dabbed a little melted butter over the potatoes to help with the browning. I didn’t want the crust to be too brown, but I wanted it to appear “baked”. I think it worked.
- 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1/2 teaspoon gravy master (optional)
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter (for brushing over casserole, optional)
Place cut potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 18-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat and add the mushrooms and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, stirring occasionally 3-5 minutes until mushrooms are softened and give up their liquid. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan and stir in the onions and carrots and another quarter teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium high heat until onions are tender and translucent and carrots are slightly softened. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with mushrooms.
Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and add the ground beef, breaking apart the meat with the back of a fork and browning. When the meat is about half way cooked, add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook stirring until meat is fragrant and completely cooked through. Transfer the beef to the bowl with the vegetables and stir in the frozen peas.
Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in the pan and add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly for about one minute, until bubbly. Slowly add the beef broth and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Boil and stir one minute. Stir in the gravy master and worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat and add the gravy to the beef and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Drain the water from the potatoes. If using a potato ricer, select the smallest extruder disk and run the potatoes through the ricer then stir in the butter, sour cream, salt, pepper and milk.
If using a potato smasher, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, sour cream, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the potatoes. Smash the potatoes, incorporating the dairy products. Stir in the milk. Potatoes should be smooth, but firm, holding their shape when you run a spoon through them.
Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable spray. Spoon the meat mixture into the casserole and spread out evenly with a spoon.
To pipe potatoes, select a large pastry tip and fit it in the bottom of a pastry bag. Fill the bag halfway with potatoes and fold the open ends of the bag together tightly. Gently squeeze the bag from the top, extruding the potatoes out over the casserole.
If you don't want to use a pastry bag, spread potatoes over the casserole with a spatula, creating divots and swirls. (casserole can be made to this point, covered and refrigerated to bake later).
Carefully dab the melted butter over the top of the potatoes. Bake casserole in the center of a hot oven for 20 minutes. To brown the potatoes more, set the oven to broil and broil the casserole for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Serve.
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