So around the time our joint families started opening presents on Christmas Eve my husband (Tom, we call him) decided he was getting sick. And no one gets sicker than Tom when he’s sick. I’ve been nursing him back to health for the last few days which means providing lots of head scratches, picking up lots of tissues (HEY, MARRIAGE, AMIRITE?), and making lots of hearty foods. At least he’s cute.
Tom’s a comfort food kind of guy…he’s from Virginia so he’ll eat anything remotely “southern” and/or wrapped in some sort of pork product. He’s also incredibly well traveled so ethnic food’s his jam, too. He’s what would happen if Anthony Bourdain and Paula Deen made a precious, precious child and if they didn’t hate each other, obviously. Also, without the diabetes.
Shepherd’s Pie is right up his alley, still being served all over England and Ireland, and we love anything that makes copious amounts of leftovers at our house. That and I had all the ingredients on hand, so…Shepherd’s Pie it was.
CLASSIC SHEPHERD’S PIE
1.5 lbs ground beef (90% lean works best)
1 large carrot, diced small
1/2 sweet onion, diced small
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup corn kernels (about 3-4 ears cooked, or frozen)
3/4 cup sweet peas (frozen is fine)
3 lbs. Yukon Gold or other mashing potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes thoroughly (skins on or off) then cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil.
2. While potatoes boil until knife-tender, brown ground beef in a large skillet at medium-high heat. Drain.
3. As meat cooks or cools, brown chopped carrots and onions in a skillet with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper at medium heat until onions are translucent and slightly browned, about 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more.
4. Once vegetables are cooked thoroughly, mix into browned meat. Add corn and peas (still frozen is fine – they’ll cook later) in a large bowl. Be sure to season with salt and pepper at this point. Spread meat/vegetable mixture on the bottom of a large, greased casserole dish.
5. When potatoes become very knife-tender, drain in a collander then add potatoes back to hot cooking pot to remove excess moisture. Add butter, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly (don’t skimp on the salt here!) I recommend a stand mixer with the paddle attachment but you can also use a hand-mixer or even a hand-masher for a more chunky texture.
6. Spread mashed potatoes in a smooth layer on top of meat mixture in casserole dish using a rubber spatula. Sprinkle liberally with cheddar cheese.
7. Bake for 15-22 minutes or until cheese browns considerably. Be sure to let the pie rest at least 10 minutes before serving.