Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shepherd’s Pie - How to Make the Best Damn Meal Ever

This recipe for Shepherd's Pie is perfect for beginners. It's basically a layer of seasoned, cooked, ground beef with gravy mixed in and mashed potatoes on top. Once it is baked in the oven, the top gets nicely browned - comfort food at its best!

To make this version of Shepherd's Pie all you will need to know how to:

Many (more advanced) recipes call for various other vegetables, like chopped onions, carrots, garlic, peas or corn to be added to the beef mixture. Still other recipes suggest that you need to know how to make your own gravy. But if you're just getting started with cooking, it's perfectly OK to use a jar of store bought gravy, which is what I'm going to do here.

At the grocery store buy:

  • 1 and 1/4 pounds of ground beef
  • A 12-ounce jar of beef gravy
  • 3 large potatoes (about 2 pounds)

You will also need about 1/3 cup of milk and 4 Tablespoons of butter. I'll assume that you already have those two ingredients in your refrigerator! (If you don't, do buy some milk and butter as well!)

Start by getting the potatoes washed, peeled, cooked and mashed. I've written a post here on mashed potatoes.

While the potatoes are cooking, brown the beef (video) in a frying pan. Be sure to drain off the excess fat.

Stir in the beef gravy.

If you have any extra spices in your cupboard you can add them as well. Some options are: 1/2 teaspoon of garlic or onion powder or 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Spread the meat mixture over the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. I'm using an 8-inch square baking dish.

Now spread the mashed potatoes on top.

Using a fork, fluff the top.

Then cut 1 tablespoon of butter into really tiny bits and dot the bits over the mashed potatoes. This will help to brown the top of the potatoes.

(You could sprinkle on some parmesan cheese or grated cheddar cheese on the top if you like.)

Bake the casserole in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. It will look like the picture below when you take it out of the oven.

Sometime the gravy will bubble up through the potato topping which is just fine.


You can put the Shepherd's Pie under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top a little bit more, BUT NOT IF YOU USED A GLASS BAKING DISH AS I HAVE DONE.

Generally speaking, (Pyrex) glass baking dishes are suitable for baking only. When used under a broiler, the extreme fluctuation in temperature can cause the dish to crack. If you plan on browning YOUR Shepherd's Pie under the broiler, use a metal baking pan, not a glass one!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent. Making some freezer friendly comfort food for my sister who is having a baby soon. I'll just add some veggies and this will be great! Thanks for a simple recipe!