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Shepard’s Pie

December 4, 2010

I’ve discovered the easiest, most filling, rib sticking, comfort food and I can’t stop making it.
I think it’s three times now that I’ve made this? Maybe only two, but the leftovers stretch for what seems like forever.
I used to make this back in Chicago, but I’ve been doing a bit more sprucing up of my old standbys to make them a little heartier and better for us.
It’s a little difficult to jot this down since it’s more or less just throwing a bunch of ingredients together. I’ll try my best though, so that you can replicate it.

I used to have shepard’s pie back in my elementary school days. They would make it layered with the beef on the bottom, the vegetable layer in the middle, and then mashed potatoes on the top. Paula Deen lent me the idea to switch up the order of things, and then add a layer of biscuit or crust on top. To really push things over the edge, I sprinkle cheese on top. Oh god. Writing this is making me want to make it again. I have a whole stack of potatoes to find something to do with. Hmmm…

Stick to the recipe writing now.

Ingredients:

  • Mashed Potatoes
    • 8 medium potatoes
    • I use plain nonfat yogurt instead of butter to make it creamy and tangy, roughly a cup
    • several cloves of minced garlic
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Frozen Vegetables
    • I like to use peas, corn, and diced carrots, they sell the bags of mixed vegetables and I just use one for the recipe.
  • Ground Beef and Turkey
    • One diced yellow onion
    • 2 stalks of celery, diced
    • 2 carrots, diced
    • 8 oz. minced mushrooms
    • minced garlic
    • Olive oil
    • 2 lbs ground beef
    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • Dry red wine
    • 1 can of low sodium vegetable broth
  • The biscuit topping
    • I usually mix about 2 cups of flour with as much milk as I need to make it sort of like a pancake batter consistency.
    • You need to add a teaspoon of baking soda or baking powder for every cup of flour that you use to make it rise.
  • A package of shredded sharp cheddar

Directions:

First of all, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Do you guys know how to make mashed potatoes? It’s pretty easy. I slice up the potatoes so that they cook faster, and then boil them in salted water. When they’re fork tender, I drain the water and then add the plain yogurt. I add the finely minced garlic and then as much salt and freshly ground black pepper as it needs. That’s pretty much it.

While you’re doing the mashed potatoes, saute the onions in the a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a nice large pot or dutch oven.

When they start to get clear and begin to caramelize, add the garlic and the mushrooms. If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, triple the amount of mushrooms that you use. I made it like that last year and it was totally delicious. At this point, you want to add about a cup of red wine and the can of vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and then add the diced carrots and celery.

While that pot simmers away, you want to get the beef and turkey ready to add. In another big pot, add the beef and turkey and brown it up a bit.

It doesn’t need to cook all the way, because you’re going to add it in with the simmering vegetables in a minute, and those are going to cook together to get really fragrant and delicious. Set that to the side, and let it simmer while you make the biscuit batter.

Mix together the biscuit batter, and then in a large casserole dish, layer the mashed potatoes, then the still frozen vegetables (they’ll cook in the oven), and then layer the beef, turkey and vegetable mixture on top, but drain it first! I reserved the liquid to use as broth on a later date, and it totally came in handy on Thanksgiving for our gravy. You could even make the gravy now to add to the shepard’s pie.

Finally pour the biscuit mixture on top of the beef and pop that baby in the oven for about 20 minutes. Everything is cooked already, so you’re just heating everything up and baking the biscuit mixture on top. After 20 minutes, pull it out and sprinkle the cheese on top. Pop it all back in the oven for about 10 more minutes or until the cheese gets bubbly hot.

Pull it out when it looks good and ready, and then slice it and serve it. You’re going to love it, I swear. Billy even told me once that it’s the best recipe that I have up my sleeve. Pretty sweet, huh?

I wish I had a picture of the finished piece, but I always forget to take pictures, and then it’s gone.

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