Aaaaccckkk! I haven't posted a recipe in AGES. Sorry folks! If you already read my main blog, you have seen this one...I'm just copying it over to temporarily assuage my guilt for being a slacker over here. But it's a good one! Plus with this cold weather we are having here this weekend, it seems fitting.
Shepherd's pie isn't difficult, but definitely involved enough that I want to get several meals out of it. This will make one full 9x13 or two 8x8 dishes...so it will serve at least 8. I make it in two small pans, one of which will feed our little trio for two nights. The other goes into the freezer for later.
I consider this to be "my" recipe. I combined bits from Michael Chiarello, Nigella Lawson, and Rachael Ray, and made even more changes after that to fit our tastes.
3 lbs potatoes (your favorite for mashing...I like Yukon Gold)
3 tablespoons cream cheese
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 lbs ground meat (I prefer half lamb/half beef, but you can use all beef if you are weird about lamb. I am normally weird about lamb but I can do it in this dish if it is mixed with beef).
1 chopped onion
3-4 chopped and peeled carrots
1 tub mushrooms, chopped
2 cups frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 can beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
beef boullion cube
1 tablespoon worcestershire
Mashed Potatoes: If you have a favorite mashed potato recipe, you can just use that. Or, you can make these. Just DON'T use instant or you'll destroy the whole dish. Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil in heavily salted water (use a handful of salt) for about 12 minutes or until cooked. Drain water and return to pot. Mash with yogurt and cream cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While potatoes are cooking, make the filling: Brown the beef/lamb in a little olive oil over medium high heat. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and plenty of pepper. After cooking for about 4 minutes, add the onion, carrot, and mushrooms. Season again with salt and pepper. Drain meat if needed. While meat and veggies cook...
Prepare gravy: Heat butter and flour in a medium saucepan and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Whisk in broth, wine, boullion, worcestershire, and all the herbs and spices. Cook a few minutes, until thickened. Add gravy to meat mixture and stir in the peas.
Divide filling into two 8x8 baking dishes, or one 9x13. Spoon potatoes over filling and spread evenly. Take a fork and rake across the potatoes in long straight lines. It looks a little messy, but this creates lots of little grooves that will get brown and toasty. Besides, it is supposed to be a rustic dish! Dot the top with bits of butter, about 1 to 2 tablespoons on each dish (if using two).
If freezing one dish, stop here. Freeze for up to 2 or 3 months, defrost in the refrigerator for 2 days prior to eating, and bake like normal. You will never know it wasn't made fresh. When ready to bake, bake at 400 degrees for about 3o minutes...until heated through and the top is golden brown.