F Family Friendly Shepherd's Pie - Just~One~Donna

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Family Friendly Shepherd's Pie

Every few months I make a point to dive into my freezer to see what items may have been overlooked for too long.  Sometimes I go overboard when I stock up on meats and vegetables and as a result, I may not use them as quickly as I thought I would in my menu planning.  If that is true for you as well, you may want to take a look into the black hole of your freezer and plan some meals to use up those overlooked ingredients.

I found a couple of pounds of ground beef and an opened, one pound bag of corn kernels in my freezer.  Those two ingredients called out to me loudly and clearly.  Yes, they told me it was time to make Shepherd's Pie.  Shepherd's Pie is a family friendly meal that can be made for a few or many.

Rustic Shepherd's Pie for Dinner

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Rustic Shepherd's Pie for Dinner

Shepherd's pie is a meal that I have always prepared without a recipe.  My version is a simple dish, consisting of a layer of flavored browned ground beef, topped with a layer of corn kernels and
crowned with a layer of tasty mashed potatoes. Since I wanted to share my version with all of you, I decided to check out other shepherd's pie recipes online.  What I found out is that the dish I have called shepherd's pie all my life is actually referred to as cottage pie because it is made with beef.  Shepherd's pie is traditionally made with lamb.  That may be true, but I'll continue to call my recipe Shepherd's Pie.

I also found that there are nearly as many versions of shepherd's pie as there are home cooks. So, I hope if you decide to make Shepherd's (or cottage) Pie for your family you will adapt this recipe to your family's tastes.  If you do, it is sure to become a family favorite.
Family Friendly Shepherd's Pie

Donna's Shepherd's Pie

Serves 4-6
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 pound bag frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
Place the potatoes in a medium pot, covered with water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until a fork is easily inserted into the potatoes, about 10-15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, cooking until they start to take on a little color.  Add the minced garlic to the onions, cooking for about one minute. Add the ground beef to the pan, breaking up the clumps of beef.  Season the beef with salt and pepper, starting with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.   Continue to cook until the beef is nicely browned.

Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over the beef, stirring to distribute the flour.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the water, stirring to make a sauce.  Cook the mixture until you see the sauce begin to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.  Taste the mixture again and add the rest of the salt and pepper as needed.  Cover the pan and turn off the heat.

The Saucy Beef Layer
Thicken with Flour and Make A Sauce
Drain the potatoes.  Add the butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.  Mash the potatoes and additional ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.  I like to start my mashed potatoes with this potato masher and finish with my hand mixer. Taste the potatoes and add salt and pepper as needed.

Making Mashed Potatoes
Mash the Potatoes
Spoon the beef mixture into a casserole dish, spreading to cover the bottom of the pan evenly.

The Ground Beef Makes the First Layer
The Seasoned Beef Layer
Pour the corn over the beef layer, spreading to distribute evenly.  Top the corn layer with the mashed potatoes, being sure to spread the potatoes to the edges of the pan.  This will seal the moisture from the beef and corn layers under the potatoes.  At this point, you may cover and refrigerate or freeze the Shepherd's Pie.

The Corn Layer
The Sweet Corn Layer
About an hour before serving, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and remove the Shepherd's Pie from the refrigerator.  Place the casserole dish on the center rack of the preheated oven.

Mashed Potatoes Top the Shepherd's Pie
Oven Ready Shepherd's Pie
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and the center of the casserole is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Serve with a crisp salad or your favorite green vegetable.

Shepherd's Pie for Dinner
Shepherd's Pie for Dinner
Make this family friendly meal for dinner tonight!

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