Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

Are you married to someone who, technically, "doesn't like casseroles"?  Yeah, me too.  And I take quite a bit of enjoyment in pointing out, every time I make this, that this dish is a casserole.  I always get The Look when I do.

Because what Carnivore can resist good ol' browned meat, mixed with vegetables, swimming in gravy, and baked with a sinfully creamy mashed potato topping??

Shepherd's Pie
Recipe kind of a mash-up adaptation from Pampered Chef and Rachael Ray
Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 15 or 45 minutes

1 lb ground meat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup stock or broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp dried herb of choice
2 cups frozen vegetables
3-4 cups prepared mashed potatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the ground meat and crumble it as it browns.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and cook another minute.
I usually use beef, since that's what Rob likes.

3.  Sprinkle the flour over the meat mixture and stir to coat.  Let this cook a couple minutes to get out the flour taste.  Slowly pour in the stock or broth, while stirring.  Bring to a simmer and let bubble a few minutes until the gravy is thickened to the consistency you like.  Season with salt, pepper and your herb of choice.
I used beef stock and 1/2 tsp dried rosemary.

4.  Add the vegetables and simmer until heated through.  Pour the meat and vegetables into a baking dish and spread out evenly.  Scoop spoonfuls of potatoes around the edge of the baking dish and top with a little cheddar cheese, if desired.
I try to get more vegetables into my boys so I'm using mixed veggies

5.  Now you have some options!!  If you are pressed for time, you can simply put the casserole under the broiler, about 6-8 inches, and brown the potatoes a few minutes.  Everything's already hot and cooked.  OR you can bake this in the preheated oven (to 375) for about 30 minutes, until bubbly and browned.
And yes, I stirred a little cheese INTO my potatoes too. ;)

Yup, I was intentionally vague up there with the ingredients... because I think you should be free to make this using whatever flavors you like.  Not into red meat?  Use ground chicken, or turkey.  Someone in your family only like certain vegetables but not others?  I don't see anything wrong with 1-2 vegetables in this.

And about those mashed potatoes, that's how you can totally take this flavor to a whole other level.  A typical mashed made with butter and milk is quite yummy.  What about making sour cream and cheddar potatoes?  Or perhaps use up some instant roasted garlic mashed potatoes that your husband had leftover from his guys' weekend.  I'm also a big fan of stirring in some garlic/herb cream cheese into potatoes.  Whatever you like, putting that on top of a comforting blend of meat, vegetables, and gravy absolutely MAKES this dish.
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