Monday, May 16, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

After we returned from our vacation, I was ready to resume cooking dinner for the husband and me. I'd had plenty of restaurant meals and enough Retroburgers to last a lifetime. But since I was back to work, it needed to be a fast and easy meal.

With that requirement in mind, I decided to make a shepherd's pie. It seemed quick, delicious, and cozy given our frighteningly cold spring weather. Plus I had some ground beef in my freezer. Bonus!

Everything was tasting scrumptious as I went along, but the filling seemed awfully soupy. I let it cook a bit longer than required, but to no avail. "Ahh, whatever. It'll still taste good." I said to myself. I plopped the potatoes on top and popped my pie into the oven.

As soon as I started cleaning up the dirty dishes, I realized I'd forgotten to add the peas and corn to the filling. So, that's why it was soupy! After very briefly considering peeling off the potato layer and stirring in the extra veggies, I said again, "Ahh, whatever. It'll still taste good."

And it did.

Shepherd's Pie
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Cookbook
Serves: 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
1.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup beer
1.5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup peas
1 cup corn kernels
Salt and pepper
4 cups of your favorite mashed potatoes*
1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, 10 minutes.

Stir in the beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking up large chunks as it cooks. Stir in flour, garlic, and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute longer. Slowly stir in the broth, beer, Worcestershire, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in the peas and corn. (Don't forget like I did!) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir sour cream into your mashed potatoes. Spread the potatoes into an even layer on top of the filling. Bake in the preheated oven for15 minutes.

In order to brown the top of the potatoes, adjust the rack to the upper third of the oven and turn on the broiler. Broil the shepherd's pie for about 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown, watching it carefully to ensure it doesn't burn.

*I cannot guarantee it, but I may or may not have used potatoes from a box. There's no shame here, people.


  1. Erin,
    I've never tried homemade Shepherd's Pie, but have really wanted to. You've inspired me!

  2. Oooo, carrots, peas, and corn? How wonderful. I usually just use corn.

  3. Hubby would LOVE this recipe...if this unseasonably cool weather keeps up, I'm going to try your delicious dish :)

  4. I love shepherd's pie. I made shepherd's pie about a week ago. I'll eat shepherd's pie anytime of the year. Your recipe does look good. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Perfect weeknight meal! We still have plenty of rainy spring days heading our way so this is just what I need!

  6. Yay, it all came together in the end. I made polenta the other day without milk (where was my brain?) but there was no saving it in the end, sigh. Your Shepherd's pie looks great!

  7. Shepherd's pie is almost always a win win, regardless of what's left out (unless it's the meat or potatoes, of course!)

    Don't you find after a vacation of eating out, that home cooking initially takes a while to get into? It's like insta-meals are all you have the patience for after someone else has been doing the cooking! Then you adapt, and time in the kitchen becomes your friend again.

  8. I love this recipe! I've been looking for a good Shepherd's Pie recipe to try and I've finally found one!