Warm Up to Shepherd’s Pie

So cold right now, I think we all are craving warm comfort food.  I made this last week for company and it was a big hit.  The potato crust is satisfying and the gravy chock full of meat and veggies is richly flavored and addictive.  This is an Alton brown recipe with a few minor changes.  I added red wine, more veggies and I left the egg out when I made the potato crust.   The red wine makes the gravy taste perfect. Plus I changed the flour to make it a gf choice.

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I know the list of ingredients might be daunting but it does go together fast. Just chop all the veggies first and brown the ground meat while your potatoes cook.  We had home grown potatoes for the crust; oh so flavorful and homegrown peas and local corn in the filling.  Yumm!  The leftover made a great lunch the next day.  Sure warms the tummy on a chilly chilly day.

I used a bit over a pound of meatloaf mix and some ground turkey meat.  You can use ground beef or even turkey.  All work fine.  I also have a recipe for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie full of veggies with amazing gravy!

I meant to take more pictures while I made this but forgot; next time….

Shepherd’s Pie


For the potatoes:
2 pounds russet potatoes
1/3 cup half-and-half
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk (optional)
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or meatloaf mix
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rice flour
2-3 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth

½ cup dry red wine

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen peas

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to a simmer and cook until tender and easily pierced, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a glass cup and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until combined.  I did not add the yolk and it wasn’t missed.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to soften, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the meat, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and stir, cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, wine, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer slowly 11 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish.  I used a lovely oval ceramic dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting along the edges and filling in, get it all the way to the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a spatula. Place on a sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008 with some changes.  Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-