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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

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Not all pies are created equal. Some are very special.  

I could go on and on trying to list my top favorite pies. It's nearly impossible to pick just one. I love it so much, when I was younger I would request a birthday pie instead of birthday cake. One year I ate practically an entire pecan pie by myself! (Side note: it honestly took another 20 years before I could even think about eating the sticky, sweet bite again!)  

Don't even get me started on the big holiday menus. Thanksgiving isn't concluded with a simple slice of apple or pumpkin pie; on my holiday table there will typically be an additional two such as cranberry or (gulp) even pecan. Or chocolate. Or Boston Cream. Well... you see my dilemma here. 

Even during the rest of the year, I can get so wrapped up in trying to find the most delicious dessert pie, that I often overlook the savory options! Quiches and cottage pie  (or Shepherd's Pie) are such fantastic, comforting dinners. They need to make a comeback at the family meal, for sure. March 14 is National Pi(e) Day. 3.14 ha ha, get it? (I know, corny.) But it got me to thinking about all the delicious pies I could be making. One for every meal of the day! I was definitely in my glory and giddy with excitement as I began making a list of possible contenders.

Since it's nearly spring, a tangy goat cheese, asparagus and spinach quiche started out our day on the breakfast table. (Quiche can be served warm or at room temperature and when paired with a green salad, makes a terrific lunch!)  Then I moved onto the main course... Shepherd's Pie! I suppose, technically, what I made was considered a hybrid of Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie. The difference being: Shepherd's Pie is made with primarily lamb. Cottage Pie is composed of beef. I couldn't find ground lamb in my grocery store so I compromised with the "meatloaf mix". A yummy combination of flavors and fat content, it's made up of pork, veal and beef.

boiled potatoes passed through a ricer make the best "mashed" you'll ever eat!

boiled potatoes passed through a ricer make the best "mashed" you'll ever eat!

spread the seasoned potatoes evenly over the meat filling

spread the seasoned potatoes evenly over the meat filling

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground ("meatloaf") beef/pork/veal mix
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons AP flour
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter
  • 3 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
using Irish cheddar is preferable,  but not necessary. 

using Irish cheddar is preferable,  but not necessary. 

Directions: 

  Preheat the oven to 425゚. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and brown the beef mixture. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a large bowl. And the onion to the skillet and sauté until translucent. Add the carrots, parsley, and thyme. Cook 3 minutes until softened and coated with oil. Stir in the flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the stock. Bring to a boil, scraping up the fond from the bottom of the pan. Add the browned beef back in and reduce the heat to low, simmering and covered but stirring occasionally. Cook 20 minutes.  Season again with salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile,  cook the diced potatoes in boiling, salted water until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and either mash or use a ricer. Season with salt and pepper, milk & 2 T butter. Transfer the meat mixture to an ovenproof casserole dish and spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Bake 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the shredded cheese and broil on low to medium-heat until lightly browned and bubbly, about 1-2 minutes. Sláinte!

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