So, what does this have to do with Shepherd's Pie? Not a damn thing, I'm just venting. It's just a little depressing when you want to make cupcakes but your FIL doesn't own a cupcake tin. Sure I could go buy one, but I have a perfectly good one waiting for me at Fort Polk. I don't have kids so owning more than one (ok, I actually own 5, but that's not the point) isn't necessary. Ok, I'm done now...
Shepherd's Pie is the ultimate comfort food. It's like beef stew with mashed potatoes. It doesn't get better than that. I use a Rachel Ray recipe that I've tweaked a little bit. You can find the original recipe here. This is a super easy dish to make, the only thing I'm not crazy about is that it takes a lot of pots and pans so hopefully you have a dishwasher.
I like to add butternut squash to my potatoes. So first thing you want to do is get your veggies peeled and cut up. Cut up the potatoes and squash into small chunks and boil in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes.
Start browning your ground beef and drain off fat. Add the onions, garlic & carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Normally, I use canned carrots, but if you use fresh like I did this time, cut them thin and you'll need to cook this a little longer than 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and Tony's. Add in the sweet peas toward the end of the cook time.
Tony Chachere's on EVERYTHING. It's pronounced Satch - uh - reez, but we just call it Tony's. I've never had any problem finding it outside of Louisiana. Walmart carries it in the spice aisle.
In saucepan #3 over medium heat you're going to melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Whisk for at least 2 minutes, just long enough to get rid of the raw flour taste. You don't need to brown this like you would for gravy. Add 1 cup of beef stock and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce. Let this cook about a minute longer to thicken and then pour over the ground beef mixture.
Your potatoes and squash should be ready to mash now. Drain off the water in a colander and add the potatoes and squash back to the pot. Mix 1 stick of butter (I'm Southern, it's in my genes... it's in the other jeans too, unfortunately), the cream, a dollop of sour cream and the egg yolk. Mash together til smooth and creamy. The egg yolk will help the potatoes brown under the broiler.
This is my adapted recipe of Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Shepherd's Pie.
2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
1 half butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 3/4 pounds ground sirloin
1 can carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
1small can sweet peas
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Boil potatoes and squash in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and pour them back into the pot. Combine butter, sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth. (The butter, sour cream, cream and egg yolk are optional and the amounts can be adjusted to your liking.)
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef. Season meat with salt, pepper and Tony's. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add carrot, onion and garlic to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with Tony's and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.