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I discovered this great dish of ground beef stew topped with mashed potatoes in high school when I had a close friend who was English.  Spending time in an English household led me to appreciate some of the finer things in life: sweet and milky black tea, Manchester United, dipping ‘chips’ (french fries) into a fried egg’s yolk and my friend’s Dad’s excellent Shepherd’s Pies!  At this time, I also developed a healthy fear of daleks…

Shepherd’s Pie is delicious and reasonably healthy, depending on how much butter and cream you like to use in your mashed potatoes.  You can throw in whatever vegetables that you have in the fridge that need using up, that’s why this recipe has broccoli!   You could easily chop up the veggies very finely in a food processor to fool any picky eaters you might happen to be cooking for.  Another great thing is that you can make it a ‘One Pot Wonder’ if you have a nice big dutch oven to make the ground beef stew in.  Also, you can tailor the dish to how much mashed potatoes you have to use up; if you have just a few cups of mashed potatoes, put it in a deeper casserole dish or dutch oven but if you have a lot of potatoes, spread it out in a 9″x13″ casserole dish for more potato-y surface area.

This is a great, full meal in one dish that is packed with veggies, easy on the budget, and usually is a big hit with the manly, ‘meat and potatoes,’ men in my life.  So far, every man I’ve served my Shepherd’s Pie to has loved it; both my fireman and my college buddy, Sasha, who is a substantial and impressively mustachioed man, really like this one.

[*Side Note*  Seriously folks, please check out Movember, support the mustache bearing men you come across, and maybe donate to testicular and prostate cancer research and awareness? http://us.movember.com/mospace/5293829%5D

Another fan of this dish was a former gentleman caller, who is a great big, bearded, Scottish lad, so I think I’m on the right track as far as getting some authentic flavors in my Shepherd’s Pie.

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4 – cost approx $.84 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef ($1.99)
  • 1 small onion, small dice ($.06)
  • 3 ribs celery, small dice ($.11)
  • 2 carrots, small dice ($.12)
  • 1 small broccoli, stem peeled and small diced, florets cut into bite size pieces ($.33)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz or 1/2 small can of tomato paste ($.25)
  • 1/4 cup A.P. flour
  • 3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups stock, any kind, I used vegetable stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme, minced
  • 3-5 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese ($.25)

Preheat your oven to 375 F and grease a 9″x13″ baking dish (only if you’re not going to use a dutch oven or cast iron pot)

Begin by browning the meat in a oven proof pot or large saute pan if you’re planning to transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.  When the meat is mostly cooked and the fat has rendered out, add in the onion, celery, carrot and broccoli stems.  Season with salt and black pepper and cook with the beef for 5-8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to cook.  Add in the tomato paste and flour and cook for 5 minutes while stirring frequently to brown the paste and cook out the raw taste in the flour.  Next, add in the Worcestershire sauce then the stock.  Bring the mixture up to a simmer and be sure to scrape the browned goodies off the bottom.

When the beefy goodness is happily simmering, add in the parsley, thyme, broccoli florets and frozen peas.  Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes to thicken the mixture and cook the vegetables.  Adjust the seasonings and transfer all the goodies to your prepared baking dish.  Top with an even layer of mashed potatoes then sprinkle the parmesan over potatoes.  Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes then broil for 5 minutes to brown the cheese and potatoes on top.  Now here’s the hard part, wait till it cools!  It’s really hot! 🙂

A piping-hot pan of goodness!

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