In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Shepherd’s Pie.

To clear the air and hopefully avoid the waste-man comments, traditional shepherd’s Pie is made with GROUND LAMB and when you employ the use of GROUND BEEF it’s known as Cottage Pie! That said, should you refer to the video below, you’ll see me clearly say that this recipe is not traditional in any form, as I was merely using leftovers from the night before.

1 lb ground beef (medium)
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
leftover steak (optional)
1 large onion (diced)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1-2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables (frozen)
1 cup gravy (optional)
1/2 cup cooked mushrooms (optional)
5 cups mashed potato
1 1/2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Notes. Please follow along with the video below as much more is explained within. As far as using the gravy, steak and mushrooms, it’s what I had leftovers (including the mashed potato) from the night before. Optionally you may fold in 1/2 cup (grated) of your fav cheese and I’m sure the “Caribbean” in you will want a teaspoon or so of Green Seasoning when you brown the grown beef.

Start with a wide nonstick pan on a medium flame and add the ground beef. You’ll notice that in the ingredients list I used the word ‘medium’. In Canada for the most part we have 3 grades of ground beef available. Regular (most fatty), Medium (less fat) and Lean, which as the name suggests, is lean. Since I used ground beef with a bit of fat, I used a dry pan to start. Should you decide on using lean beef, turkey or chicken, you’ll need to add a tablespoon or more of your fav oil to start.

Using my spatula to break up the beef as it brown, it took 7-10 minutes. I dislike chunky pieces of ground beef.

At this point I then added the leftover steak (cut into small pieces) and mushroom.

Then in went the onion, leaves of the thyme, black pepper and salt. Turn the heat down to med/low and cook for 3 minutes. Basically until the onion softens, then you’ll add the flour and stir well to cook-out the rawness of the flour. After 2-3 minutes add the tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes. I’m not a fan of Rosemary, but feel free to add a teaspoon or so of it (finely chopped).

If you’re not using gravy (leftover) you will need to add a bit more beef stock, in my case I added a cup and a 1/2, followed by the Worcestershire sauce. Add the frozen vegetables (corn, peas, beans and carrot), stir well and bring to a boil.

At this point I added the leftover gravy (it was a green peppercorn gravy banging with flavors so I didn’t want it to go to waste). BTW the addition of the pieces of grilled steak gave the finished pie a a gentle kiss of smoke from the grill.

Once it comes to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Should you need to, add more beef stock.

Here’s where you’ll then taste and adjust the salt to your liking and determine how thick you want the sort of meat sauce. I reduced it by about 1/3.

Pour the cooked beef into an eight by ten oven proof dish. Before we get ahead of ourselves, preheat the oven to 400F.

Scoop the mashed potato (room temp) onto the beef mixture but don’t smoothen yet. Combine the parsley with the parmesan cheese and sprinkle throughout the surface of the potato layer, then flatten. As mentioned in the video, I wanted ridges so the finished Shepherd’s Pie would take on a golden color.

With the risk of bubbling over, place the baking dish onto a cookie sheet or tray, then into the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes (uncovered). Be sure to start checking its color after 25 minutes as your oven may run a bit hot. I used the convection setting on my oven, so I dropped the temp by about 10 degrees.

Once done (keep in mind that my mashed potato was salted and did contain milk, black pepper, butter and roasted garlic), allow it to rest for about 15-20 minutes before you dig in. I guarantee you that while this is NOT a traditional Shepherd’s pie, you’ll be very proud to serve this.

Growing up in the Caribbean, what we made and called Shepherd’s Pie, always had ground beef as I never recall ever seeing ground lamb being sold anywhere. Yes, even as a lil fella I would accompany mommy to the market and shops. Enjoy.

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