I’m Gonna Be Honest [shepherd’s pie]

Dear readers, I don’t ever want to come across as conceited here, but I have to tell you something.  I am awesome at repurposing the dregs of the fridge into fabulous meals.  If it’s a lot of produce, it gets thrown into a frittata, but sometimes, other inspiration strikes.  Like when I realized we were leaving the beach, but I still had leftover mashed potatoes and frozen peas.

shepherd's pie

Hello, shepherd’s pie.

I never eat shepherd’s pie because it seems entirely too much trouble to make the filling and then make mashed potatoes and then put them together and bake.    But when I had the mashed potatoes made anyway?  No problem.  I put this together int he morning and baked it for dinner.

This particular recipe has a richer filling than I was used to.  Shepherd’s pie doesn’t usually have tomatoes in the filling, does it?  This one has not only tomatoes, but also red wine, and it’s hearty and warm, and perfect comfort food.  I worked loosely off of this Food52 recipe, adjust quantities for the size dish I was making.

To make shepherd’s pie for 5, you will need:

  • 2/3 lb. ground beef
  • salt
  • pepper
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • leaves from 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 4 C mashed potatoes
  • Parmesan cheese

Brown the ground beef in a skillet, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.  When it’s cooked through, remove it to a plate lined with paper towels, drain the fat from the pan, and return the pan to the stove.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat about a T each of butter and olive oil, and add onion, celery, and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8-10 minutes (there is nothing I hate more than celery that isn’t soft enough).  Add tomato paste, and cook 2 more minutes.  Add red wine, scraping brown bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook till reduced by about half.  Add water, Worcestershire and thyme, and continue to simmer until sauce is thickened.  This may be another 15 or so minutes.  Add frozen peas.

Pour sauce mixture into 11×7 casserole dish.  Combine mashed potatoes and some Parmesan cheese (we probably had about 1/4 C leftover, but lots more would not be a bad thing), and spread on top of meat and veggie mixture. Bake 30-40 minutes, till top starts to brown.

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