Monday, October 20, 2008

Shepherd's Pie with Scallion-Cheese Crust

Comfort food..there is nothing like it. Next to mac-n-cheese, I think Shepherd's Pie is probably the ultimate comfort food. Funny thing though, I had never had it until I cooked it tonight, not that I can remember, anyway.

I browsed recipes for ideas and my mouth was watering over
this one by Michael Chiarello. My changes are noted in italics below.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound minced British lamb (I didn't use this)
  • 1 pound minced beef (I used 1.5 pounds)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • Added: 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped very small (I only used one)
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (I used what I had on hand - 6 white mushrooms, finely chopped)
  • 1 level tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I omitted this)
  • 1 level tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh beef stock
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Mashed potatoes: 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (I used 5 medium red potatoes), 2 tablespoons butter, Salt Freshly ground black pepper (I didn't use pepper in the potatoes), I also used milk in my mashed potatoes.
  • 1 cup scallions, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 cup mature Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • Added: 1 cup frozen corn


  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or deep saute pan.
  • Brown the lamb and beef. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon. I also disposed of about half of the grease from the meat.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the pan and saute until the onions are tinged brown at the edges - about 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, tomato puree, thyme, parsley and cinnamon. Stir and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Next, stir in the flour, which will soak up the juice (I didn't have to do this), then stir in the wine and the beef stock.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
  • Return the meat to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes until the lamb is fully cooked. I didn't need 30 minutes; I added a touch of flour while the meat was simmering to thicken up the liquid.
  • Make the mashed potatoes: Peel the potatoes, cut them into large even-sized pieces and place into a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook potatoes until they are tender, about 10 minutes. (Potatoes are done when a knife can easily go through.)
    When the potatoes are done, drain off the water, return them to the saucepan, cover with a clean tea cloth to absorb the steam and leave them for about 5 minutes (I didn't do this). Next, add the butter and milk and mash them to a puree. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Assemble the casserole - When the meat is ready, spoon it into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and level it out with the back of the spoon. I added a layer of corn after the meat layer. After that, spread the mashed potato evenly all over. Sprinkle the scallions on top of the potato, scatter the cheese over the scallions and bake the pie until the top is crusty and golden, about 25 minutes.
Here is the pie after assembled...

And here it is after coming out of the oven. I could have turned the broiler on for a few minutes to help brown the top, but I was too anxious to eat.

This has to be one of the most delicious, yet simple, things I have ever eaten. Again, the ultimate comfort food. I loved the seasonings in the meat and using the wine and broth really brought a lot of juiciness and flavor to the entire dish. The juices bubbled up through the edges as it was cooking - I was looking at it through my oven door and yelling to Jon how beautiful it looked!

I can't wait for snow - this meal is perfect for a snow day!

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  1. Comfort food was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this post. It looks fantastic!

  2. This recipe looks delicious, I will definitely have to try it out!!

  3. I might have to make some this weekend... a cold, rainy Fall weekend!

  4. I haven't had shepherd's pie since I was a child. This brings back memories. I'm going to have to make it soon to take me back. :)

  5. I made this same recipe last St. Patrick's Day. Oh my god. SO GOOD.

  6. Finally made this tonight after having it in my queue for the longest time. I would definitely make it again. Nice dish for fall or winter!