The weather’s getting cooler and it’s time to make some comfort food! Shepherd’s Pie is a hearty favorite that your whole family will love. — EH (Ellen) Stafford, Managing Editor
Easy Comfort Food – Shepherd’s Pie
by Allrecipes.com and Ellen Stafford
Those of you who know me or who have been following my recipes in this column, know that I rarely leave a recipe alone. It all started with an email by Allrecipes.com entitled 10 Casseroles to Make For Your Best Friend. (Marvelous slideshow, great recipes.) The Shepherd’s pie caught my eye and never having made one before, I started out with the best of intentions to follow the recipe exactly. (Famous last words … )
Ingredients – Makes 2 pies (using glass 9×9 inch pans)
First off, I did have a good friend to bake a pie for in addition to myself, so I needed two pies, not one. As a result, I doubled all of the ingredients.
8 Large Potatoes, peeled and cubed (Yukon Gold, is great and the new crop is just coming into grocery stores now.)
2 Tbsp, Butter and 2 Tbsp, Butter (About ½ a stick total.)
2 Tbsp, Chives, dried or fresh (The original recipe called for chopped onions. I like the taste of chives in my mashed potatoes better.)
½ cup shredded Cheddar Cheese (I like cheese, I used half a bag here and the other half below. Buy two bags just to be sure.)
Salt & Pepper to taste
10 medium Carrots, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp, good tasting Honey
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 small to medium, Onions, chopped.
2 lbs. lean Ground Beef
2 Tbsp Cornstarch (The original recipe called for All-Purpose Flour, but I was out of it.)
2 Tbsp Ketchup
1 ½ cups Beef Broth (Preferably one without sugar in it.)
½ cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp Marmite (Yeast extract found in a jar in the baking or British aisle of your grocery store. You can substitute Worcestershire sauce instead.)
Between an 1/8 and a 1/4 tsp Cinnamon (Basically a sprinkle, not enough to taste of Cinnamon, just enough to add depth to your beef broth.)
Note: you don’t have to wait for Step 1 to be completed before you start Step 2.
Cook your potatoes in a large pot of salted, boiling water for about 15 minutes until you can easily poke a fork into the potato. (But not so mushy that it will fall apart.)
Drain and mash your potatoes with butter in a large bowl. (If you don’t own a potato masher, a fork or a dough cutter works remarkably well.)
Add salt, pepper, cheese and chives until you are happy with the taste. Set aside until Step 4.
Cook your carrots in a pot of salted, boiling water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Again, use a fork to see if they are tender.
Mash in a large bowl with butter and honey. Set aside until Step 4.
NOTE: Now is the time to preheat your oven to 375F.
Sauté your onion in a pan with the vegetable oil. (The original recipe says to cook until clear (translucent), this is not a recipe that will be affected by caramelized onions, so cook them as long as you want to.)
Add the ground beef and cook until browned with no pink showing. Pour off the excess fat if you have any.
Place your cornstarch in a small bowl. Heat a small amount of the beef broth (1/8 of a cup), then stir it into the cornstarch until it is smooth. You want to add enough liquid so it is NOT a paste.
Pour the remaining larger amount of beef broth into your pan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling stir in your cornstarch mixture. You will see it start to thicken almost immediately. Bring the heat down to a simmer.
Add the “Secret” ingredients: Ketchup, Cinnamon, and Marmite (or Worcestershire sauce). Add salt and pepper to taste. (This part doesn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes — it’s ready when the beef smells and tastes good with a thickened sauce.)
Turn off the heat.
You are now ready to assemble your pies in your 9 inch by 9 inch glass pans. (I did use a small amount of oil to lightly grease the pans. I’m not sure it made any difference.)
Layer ground beef on the bottom, then carrots, and then potatoes on the top. Use a knife or spatula to help spread each layer. Leave a little space at the top, otherwise you may have some bubbling over while it’s baking. Once you have a smooth potato layer on top, sprinkle it with the remaining Cheddar cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Photos, preparation and serving notes
EH (Ellen) Stafford, Managing Editor
Printed version of this recipe
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