Shepherd's Pie

Circle B Kitchen 

Shepherd's pie has to be one of the most satisfying and comforting casseroles of all time.  And boy howdy, this is a good one.  Don’t be put off by the lengthy recipe, it’s all pretty easy and will come together much quicker than you think.  You can use any ground meat you prefer (beef, lamb or turkey).  I used ground turkey which ordinarily may not have as much flavor as other ground meats, so I’ve given my shepherd’s pie a few tweaks to accommodate  that, which I've outlined below.    

1 pound ground beef, lamb or turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 largish carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 teaspoon each dried thyme, rosemary
½ cup dried mushrooms (any mix of mushrooms is fine)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock (or beef stock)
½ cup red wine
2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet (if you're using ground turkey)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 

Mashed Potatoes:
1 ½ lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 teaspoon salt
2 -3 tablespoons butter
1/3 to ½ cup whole milk, half and half or cream 

Pre-heat oven to 425°F. 

Heat the chicken stock and then place the dried mushrooms in the stock to soak and reconstitute. 

Spray a 2- quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.  Note:  the shape of your baking dish will determine your meat to mashed potato ratio.  The shallower your baking dish, the more potatoes you will need.  A deep dish will give you more meat and sauce to mashed potatoes.  Your call.  

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan and saute the carrots until starting to get tender, about 5 minutes.  Add in the onions and celery and saute for a minute or two then add the dried thyme, rosemary.  Let the spices cook for a minute and then add the meat to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and cook the meat until done, crumbling with the edge of a spoon until it’s cooked through. 

Sprinkle with flour and stir through.  Add the wine and let it cook and reduce for about 5 minutes. 

Stir in the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, and if using ground turkey, add in the Kitchen Bouquet. 

Remove the mushrooms from the chicken stock and chop up any large pieces.  Add the stock and mushrooms to the pan, bring to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes or so until you have a thick meaty gravy. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. 

For the Mashed Potatoes: 

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and smashable, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

Place the milk and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 30 seconds. 

Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. 

Pour the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish and then spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over the top, being sure to cover completely for a good seal.  Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with foil to catch any spillage.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes have to begun brown.  Let sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.