Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie

by Sue

In the last installment of Bulk Cooking in the Kitchen with Sue, I promised a recipe for shepherd’s pie. I’m pretty sure this is a bastardized version, but I had to get rid of some of the stuff in my fridge and pantry before I went out and bought more produce from the AWESOME produce market down the street. I think it’s been a whole three weeks since I’ve had to do any grocery shopping (aside from buying snacks like pretzels and chocolate pudding because I had a weird craving for those, but not at the same time though – not pregnant, whew. ALTHOUGH, I do have to mention that savory and sweet is a favorite combination!) That was a very long parenthesis blurb, but anyway…

INGREDIENTS

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 FILLING

 1 lb of ground beef

 1 medium onion, diced

 3 cloves of garlic, minced

 3 small to medium carrots, diced

 1 box of baby bella mushrooms, sliced thinly

 1/2 cup of frozen peas

 1/2 cup of frozen corn

 3 oz of tomato paste (if you remember from the lasagna recipe, this is where the other 3 oz. of the 6 oz. can of Cento tomato paste went)

11 fl. oz. of chicken broth (if you remember from the rustic potato soup recipe, this is where the other 1/3 of the chicken broth went)

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

TOPPING

Just a note, I used my garlic (s)mashed potatoes for this recipe, which can stand as a side on its own.. In fact, I had a craving for mashed potatoes when I got into the city and so I had this already sitting in the fridge. Therefore, no spiffy pictures of the step by step process. It’s also incredibly… let’s just say I’d make Paula Deen proud.

2 medium russet potatoes

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup of butter

1/4 cup of 2% milk

1/4 cup of cream cheese (I used this onion and chive cream cheese from Karsdale)

1 tbsp of dried thyme

1 tbsp of dried rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

TOPPING

1. I like skin on my mashed potatoes because I like that texture when I bite into a spoonful, so I scrubbed the outside of each potato really well before I diced them up. I prepared my mise en place – dicing potatoes, mincing garlic, getting a pot of water on the stove.

2. Once you dice the potatoes, put them in the pot of water, bring it to a boil with 2 tbsp of salt. Stir occasionally just to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom or sides, just in case. When it comes to a boil, put it to simmer until the potatoes are tender and ready to mash. Just test it with a fork. If the prongs penetrate easily through the Test Subject, then you’re ready to rock and roll.

3. Remove the pot of potatoes from the heat and pour out the liquid. Be careful! If you must, pour all contents into a colander before transferring back to the still hot pot. Put the pot back on the stove and put it on simmer or the lowest setting as you still want a bit of heat when you’re melting your ingredients together.

4. Take your potato masher, or if you don’t have one like me (!), use the back of a slotted spoon or a fork, or a combination of both to mash up the potatoes. Let out all your aggression! When about half of it is pretty smashed up, add garlic, rosemary, thyme, butter, cream, and cream cheese and continue mashing, melding all of it into this wonderful creamy (but still textured with the bits of potato skin in there) mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, and as usual, I liberally cranked black pepper in mine giving it a bit of a bite, just like I like it.

If you’re making this at the same time, you can cut time by preparing your mise en place for your filling while the potatoes are boiling. You can also make this ahead of time. As I said, mine were made because I was craving mashed potatoes and like usual, I made too much and it went into the fridge…

FILLING

1. Prepare your mise en place. Slice and dice your veg. Preheat the oven at 400. You know the drill.

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2. In a hot pan/skillet, toss your diced onion and diced carrots with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (or vegetable oil or butter, whatever suits your fancy). Salt and pepper (1 tsp of each to get those things caramelizing and tasty). Stir it around occasionally to prevent sticking and to just evenly cook.

3, When the onions look translucent, add your minced garlic, and once the edges of the onions start to brown, add the ground beef. Brown the meat and then add the mushrooms. Salt and pepper. (1 tsp of each again).

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4. When the meat is thoroughly browned, add tomato paste, chicken broth, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and basil seasonings.

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5. Stir everything around to make sure your meat and veg mixture is thoroughly coated with the newly added liquids and seasonings. Then add frozen corn and frozen peas and stir.

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6. It should look like this:

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7. Let the mixture simmer for about ten minutes, letting it thicken and tastes meld. Before you put it into a baking dish (I used a 9×9 aluminum one), taste the meat to make sure it’s salted and peppered enough! if not, just sprinkle until you’re satisfied. Once you ladle your meat and veg into your baking dish, top with your mashed potatoes and spread them to the edges so the delicious meat sauce doesn’t bubble up and over your dish!

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8. Stick it in the oven for 20 minutes. Your oven should be preheated now. Once 20 minutes is up, pull it out just enough to sprinkle some cheddar cheese at the top and let it bake for another 5 minutes.

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finished product!

The edges of the potato crust should be browned and the cheddar cheese at the top should have melted beautifully. Just let it cool for 15 minutes before you start cutting into this baby and serving it. I ended up letting it cool fully, put it in the fridge overnight to harden it. The next day, I took it out and cut it into 8 slices, wrapped them individually in aluminum foil and put them into the freezer, so I can just have ready-made, pop in the microwave dinners when I got home from a busy day. I think I still have five of these left, and they taste nomz-y.

I’ll give you guys some dessert next time… because I’ve been craving the ginger cake I made back home before I moved to this new city…

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they look like brownies, don’t they? they taste perfect a la mode…

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