easy shepherd’s pie

I have been cooking quite a bit if Chinese food recently because, well, I can cook Chinese food with my eyes virtually closed.

So when I told the LAM I needed to get some minced beef because I was going to cook Shepherd’s Pie for dinner, his eyes lit up!

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I have to say this was so yummy, I ate two portions. Oops. 

The secret to a good Shepherd’s Pie, in my opinion, is Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce imparts that special flavor that really good Shepherd’s pies have. That little extra something that is not quite definable.

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Shepherd’s pies are also very popular with the kids – who can blame them – it’s delicious! Which is why I always sneak in a lot of vegetables when I make this. The kids happily eat everything with nary a complaint.

And here are the instructions on how to make this easy dish.

In a casserole (I used my Le Creuset French Oval Ocean), brown the minced beef in a little olive oil. Add some salt and black pepper and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beef is cooked through and slightly brown. This may take a little while, depending on how much beef you are cooking, so be patient.

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Transfer the cooked beef into a bowl and set aside.

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In the same casserole, add a little more olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic for about 1-2 minutes until the onion has softened.

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 Return the beef to the casserole. Stir to mix.

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Add frozen vegetables and chopped tomato. You won’t really taste the tomato – it balances the dish and adds a depth of flavor.

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Stir to mix and add beef stock.

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Add the all-important and somewhat mysterious Worcestershire sauce and herbs – I used thyme, rosemary and basil.

IMG_7212 IMG_7217 IMG_7221Give everything a stir and lower the heat to a simmer. Let this cook for about 10 minutes so the flavors can come together. 

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Add salt (if needed) and black pepper. Finally add the corn starch slurry and stir. Set this aside.

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Cook the mashed potatoes. For a step-by-step pictorial guide on how to cook mashed potatoes, see here.

Spray a casserole dish (you can also use smaller ones for individual portions) and ladle the beef and vegetables into the bottom of the dish.

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Place the mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle on the cheese. I used Parmesan and Sharp Cheddar but you can use whatever cheese you like.

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Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and turns a golden brown.

Serve immediately, with crusty bread, or a salad or eat it as it is!

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Comfort food. Yum. Enjoy! 🙂

Easy Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 4
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For the filling
  1. 500g mined beef
  2. 2 cups (300g) frozen mixed vegetables
  3. 1/2 onion, diced
  4. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 can (411g/14.5oz) chopped tomatoes
  6. 1/2 cup (120ml) beef stock
  7. 2 teaspoons (10ml) Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  10. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  11. Salt, to taste
  12. Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  13. 1 teaspoon corn starch, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
For the mashed potatoes
  1. 6-7 potatoes - I used Russet potatoes
  2. 30g unsalted butter
  3. 1/4 cup cream (or milk)
  4. Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the topping
  1. 1 cup Cheddar
  2. 1/8 cup Parmesan
  3. Coarsely ground black pepper
For the filling
  1. In a casserole, brown the minced beef in a little olive oil. Add some salt and black pepper and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beef is cooked through and slightly brown. Transfer the cooked beef into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same casserole, add a little more olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic for about 1-2 minutes until the onion has softened.
  3. Return the beef to the casserole. Stir to mix.
  4. Add frozen vegetables and chopped tomato. You won’t really taste the tomato – it balances the dish and adds a depth of flavor.
  5. Stir to mix and add beef stock.
  6. Add the Worcestershire sauce and herbs.
  7. Give everything a stir and lower the heat to a simmer. Let this cook for about 10 minutes so the flavors can come together.
  8. Add salt (if needed) and black pepper. Finally add the corn starch slurry and stir. Set this aside.
  9. Spray a casserole dish (you can also use smaller ones for individual portions) and ladle the beef and vegetables into the bottom of the dish.
  10. Place the mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle on the cheese.
  11. Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and turns a golden brown.
  12. Serve immediately, with crusty bread, or a salad or eat it as it is!
For the mashed potatoes
  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. Place them in a pot and add water. Bring this to a boil and boil until the potatoes are soft. Poke them with a fork to check the done-ness.
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander before returning to the pot.
  3. Add butter and cream (or milk).
  4. Mash the potatoes. Season with salt and black pepper. Set this aside.
Notes
  1. You can substitute the meat and/or vegetables with whatever you happen to have in your fridge.
The Domestic Goddess Wannabe http://thedomesticgoddesswannabe.com/
In this recipe, I have used my Le Creuset Oval French Oven. I love cooking with this amazing casserole because of the evenness in cooking. What is even better (from a home cook’s point of view is how easy Le Creuset pots are to clean!

Some tips on how to care for Le Creuset pots:

Always cool a hot pan for a few minutes before washing. Do not plunge a hot pan into cold water. While Le Creuset’s enamel is designed to be the most durable on the market, thermal shock may still occur, resulting in cracking or loss of enamel.
If there are food residues, fill the pan with warm water and let soak for 15 to 20 minutes before washing. A brush can be useful for removing small food deposits, or for cleaning between the ribs on grills. Do not use scourers or abrasive cleaners on the cooking surface. Nylon or soft abrasive pads or brushes can be used to remove stubborn residues. To avoid damaging the enamel, do not use metallic pads or harsh abrasive cleaning agents.




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