Shepherd’s Pie

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Well, luckily this storm hasn’t hit as hard as they had originally forecasted. The benefits of living on the coast I suppose! It was rain all last night, then switched over to snow this morning. Everything is covered in ice, but I’ll take it rather than having another foot or so of snow like most of the state got hit with. It does make a perfect day to snuggle up inside with a good book (or movie) by the wood stove and eat comfort food.

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This shepherd’s pie makes the perfect comfort food. My husband always gets pretty excited when I make it. A slightly spicy and very flavorful hamburger base, topped with creamy mashed potatoes. What can go wrong!? This makes a great dish if you are feeding a lot of mouths, or it makes even better leftovers! It is a wonderful dish to end a cold, stormy day.

Shepherd’s Pie

Yield: 6-8 servings

For the Potatoes

  • 3 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

For the Vegetables

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Hamburger

  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9×13 inch dish. Set aside.

Put the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until tender when poked with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place back in the pot. Mash the potatoes until mostly smooth. Fold in the butter, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk if the potatoes are not creamy enough. Set aside.

For the vegetables; In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Add the diced vegetables, salt, paprika, pepper, basil and bay leaf.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Place the vegetables in a bowl, discard the bay leaf and set side.

Place the hamburger, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in the skillet used for the vegetables over medium heat. Break the hamburger into small chunks. Cook until the hamburger is lightly browned. Then, add the tomato paste and wine, and cook until almost all the liquid is gone from the pan, 5-10 minutes. Add the worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and ketchup. Cook until the meat is nicely browned and glazed from the other ingredients, about 20 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

To assemble the pie, spread the meat mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared dish. Then cover with the vegetables. Dollop the mashed potatoes over the vegetables, then carefully spread to cover the pie evenly. Sprinkle the mashed potatoes with the 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.

Place in the oven and bake, uncovered for 15 minutes. Then, turn the temperature down to 325ºF and continue cooking for another 20 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes are golden and the filling is bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Adapted from Cooking in the Moment by Kyra Alex

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