As I write this blog – a week before you will see it – the sky is dark with beautiful clouds filled with rain which has been gently falling all day. While it has put a damp chill in the air, we do need this kind of quiet rain to begin to refill the lakes and streams but most importantly, to begin to rebuild the snowpack from which we get our water all year long.
So in this chilly weather, I long for something warm – comfort food – easy to make and filling without a lot of fuss and bother. Shepherd’s Pie fits the bill! Originally made from lamb (as the name implies) it is now usually made from ground beef. If you get the chance to use lamb, do so as it is a much deeper flavor!
Anyway, as this cooks, the house will be warmed and will smell wonderfully. No wonder the Brits call it one of their faves.
- 4 small, red potatoes
- Salted water
- 1/4 c milk
- 2 tsp. butter
- 2 tsp. oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 lb. ground round or ground chuck (I use 80/20 because it has more flavor)
- 1/2 c frozen sliced or cubed carrots
- 1/2 c frozen peas
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, beaten well with a few drops of water until no white shows
Boil the potatoes in salted water to cover. When they are tender, pour off the water and let them cool until they can be peeled easily. Mash the potatoes and stir in the milk and butter. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Heat the oil in a medium sized, heavy pot. Add the onion and green pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Add the ground beef (or lamb) and stir until the meat loses its red color. Remove from the heat and stir in the carrots, peas, salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture into a 1 quart casserole.
Add the egg to the mashed potatoes and stir it in well. Top the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes and smooth them over with the back of a spoon. You can run the tines of a fork up and down or swirl the top for a fancy design if you want to.
Bake the casserole, uncovered, until the meat mixture is bubbling and the potatoes are golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 but can easily be doubled.