JJ’s Shepherd’s Pie
This recipe comes to us via a family friend, J.J. On chilly evenings, he makes his way to the kitchen, turns his back, moves around for a half hour or so and voilà: one of the most delicious and comforting meals I know. I like those “all in one” meals—meat, starch, and vegetable all together so you don’t have to feel guilty for not making a salad. I called him and pinned him down to the following recipe, which I made that very night. The beef can be replaced with ground lamb or ground turkey; the type of cheese can also change according to taste.
4 small potatoes
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 pound ground beef
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
STEP BY STEP:
- Make mashed potatoes. Peel the potatoes and chop them in fourths. Boil until soft. Drain the potatoes well, then move them to a mixing bowl. Add 4 tablespoons butter and let it melt. Using a mixer, beat the butter and potato mix, adding half and half gradually. Add salt and pepper to taste. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and sauté onion, celery and carrots until soft.
- Add the beef, garlic, and frozen peas. Cook until the beef is no longer red.
- Spread the beef mixture across the bottom of a casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes in a second layer over the beef mixture.
- Spread grated cheese over the top of the mashed potatoes.
- Cover with foil and cook at °350 for 45 minutes.
- Put under the broiler for 5 minutes if you like crispy cheese.
Wow! This recipe is one of the best I’ve ever tried–sumptuous–and the nice mix of vegetables makes it colorful. Every time I serve this people just go wild. Thanks, Ursula.
Add a bay leaf when you add the meat; remove it before putting everything together.
This is one for the books. I always look up this recipe up around this time of year, when it’s getting cold in Mobile and it’s advisable to have a dish that feeds many for those days ahead that AREN’T Thanksgiving or Christmas. I don’t know who JJ is, but 5 stars! Btw, this freezes beautifully and can be adjusted without doing sophisticated math for a larger party. Regardless of how many I’m cooking for, I add more than called for of carrots, peas, and celery (and cheese). I like medium cheddar–not mild. The recipe doesn’t specify but in this kind of dish, I always use salted butter. Enjoy!