Shepherd's pie for us North American people usually means some sort of ground beef mixture with gravy and veggies that is topped with a mashed potato topping and baked in the oven. But did you know, to be a real Shepherd's pie, it has to be ground lamb? If the meat base is beef, it's actually called Cottage pie. I love mashed potatoes and am always ready to eat anything that is covered in it. My version of this dish isnt very traditional but works for me and if you really want to cut corners, a bag of frozen mixed veggies works as a substitute for all the veggies I listed above.
1. Peel and cube the russet potatoes. Number of potatoes vary as russet potatoes vary in size. I would recommend against using the yellow Yukon gold or red potatoes as these types of potatoes dont quite mash very well. They become a bit gummy or pastey once mashed and I dont care for that consistency in my mashed potatoes. Boil off until fork tender. usually takes about 10-15 mins depending on the size of your cubes. Drain off and add butter, salt and white pepper and mash. Place to the side.
2. In a large pan, brown off the ground beef. I dont usually add any additional oil when doing this so there usually isnt too much excess oil that I need to drain off. Once browned, add garlic, worchestershire sauce, and cajun seasoning. Toss around to evenly coat the ground meat.
3. Add chopped veggies and the onion soup powder. If you dont have onion soup powder, the canned onion soup also works but I would only add about 3/4 of the can as its often a concentrated mix and can get very salty. If you opted for the frozen veggies, you may also want to add less of the canned soup as there will be extra water coming out of the frozen veggies at this point.
4. Add flour to the meat mixture and mix around, making a semi roux. Add in red wine and water (If you used the canned onion soup, omit water unless necessary) to make the mixture moist. You dont want it to be overly wet like a gravy.
5. Transfer into an oven safe baking dish and spread out evenly. Combine the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture in an even layer. Once assembled, you can now keep this in the fridge for 2-3 days until you are ready to bake.
6. Once you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 365 degrees F. bake the shepherd's pie for 30-45 minutes. Oven times vary depending on the state the pie was in prior to baking (i.e. if it was in the fridge for the last couple days then it'll take longer). You dont want the mashed potato topping to get brown, youre only looking to heat it through and "set" it.
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