Comfort food: Shepherd's Pie (from scratch)...
There are few things more comforting in life than a meal that nourishes both body and soul, especially on a cool drizzly day (of which we’re having a lot of right now). Made with fresh ingredients, from scratch, Shepherd’s Pie can really tick all the comfort boxes.
I realize that one of the virtues of Shepherd’s Pie is that it can be put together speedily, using frozen vegetables and even ready-made mashed potatoes. But having tried it every which way over the past year or so, starting from scratch with fresh ingredients is really the way to go. It’s so much tastier. Truly. And while it will take you a little longer in the kitchen than the quick version, it's still not like you'll be slaving away for an entire afternoon, and there are ways to break it up beforehand with a little planning. I really think if you try this recipe, you'll be a believer.
One other thought: This is a great dish to make even if you have company coming. It’s veggies, meat and potatoes all-in-one, and when you add some good crusty bread and a glass of wine, it takes on a more sophisticated air. Try it and I bet your friends will be surprised and wowed.
corn, still on the cob
potatoes and ingredients for mashing (milk, butter, etc.)
cream of mushroom soup
Please note that amounts vary, depending on how much you want to make. As a general guide, you'll want enough hamburger to cover the bottom third or slightly more of your casserole dish/pan; same for potatoes.
1. To start, peel and boil the potatoes, adding a little salt to the water. While the potatoes are cooking, brown hamburger in frying pan with some chopped onion; season with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.
2. When potatoes are done, drain and set aside. Wash and chop carrots and green beans and mix together in a microwaveable bowl. Cut the corn from the cob and add it to the bowl. If you have fresh peas, you can shell and add them to the bowl. Frozen peas will work fine, as I know fresh ones can be hard to get sometimes. (Fresh onions, potatoes, carrots, green beans and corn on the cob are always easy to find, though.)
3. Add a little water to the bowl of vegetables, season with salt and pepper and microwave until they are nearly cooked. Do not overcook them as they still have to bake in the oven. This is just to give them a jump start in the cooking process.
4. When the hamburger is nearly done, add some mushrooms. It's important not to add them too soon or else they'll cook down into hard little nubs - not tasty. Once the hamburger, onion and mushrooms are done, add up to a can of cream of mushroom soup, to taste (or possibly up to two, if you're making a large pan, such as a 9x13 size). Mix together well and reduce heat to medium, then low once heated through.
5. While that is simmering, mash the potatoes. Everyone mashes their potatoes to their own liking; I put butter, mayo, cheese, salt and pepper in mine, and just a splash or two of milk. Some people only use butter and milk. Do whatever you like, just make sure they are not runny. The potatoes should be thicker for this dish.
6. Add the vegetables to the hamburger mixture and mix well. Taste a little bite to see if more seasoning is needed and if so, adjust accordingly. Do the same for the potatoes. It’s important that each layer be seasoned appropriately. Add a little shredded cheese (your preference, but I find Monterey Jack works best) to the hamburger mixture and mix well again.
7. Grease your dish/pan. Pour the hamburger and vegetable mixture into the pan and spread out evenly. Spread the potatoes on top. Sprinkle a good layer of cheese on top (I use Cheddar) and bake in the oven at 400 degrees until you can tell its bubbling underneath and the cheese is brown - usually 30 to 40 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy.
SHORT CUTS: Aside from using frozen peas, you can also cut up your vegetables in advance and put them in the fridge. You also make your mashed potatoes in advance ~ for example, make extra if you're having them earlier in the week. Additionally, this dish makes great leftovers if eaten within a couple days, so you can always make extra and have it for lunches, etc., later in the week.
I am linking to:
Tuesdays at the Table
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Fat Camp Fridays
Stop by and visit for more delicious recipes and inspiration.Bon appetit.