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Last weekend I made shepherd’s pie and it turned out to be one of the best things I may have ever made.  It was so good that I kind of want to make it again.  And again.  And then again.

I have officially made shepherd’s pie twice in my life.  The first time was a few years ago and it was quite a failure.  Well.  It wasn’t BAD.  I just remember being very disappointed with it.  And I think at some point I had to run to the grocery in the middle of making it because I wasn’t following a recipe and realized at the last minute that I needed something urgently.  That sounds like something I would do.

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I found a recipe on Pinterest that makes shepherd’s pie in a cast iron skillet which is a little bit quicker and requires only about one less pan.  But you know what?  One pan is one pan and if I have a say, I will always vote for the method using less dishes.  It ended up working perfectly and I can promise you that I will forever make shepherd’s pie in my cast iron skillet.  It’s so silly to cook the filling in a pan and then transfer it to a baking dish when you can just cook it all in a pan that can go in the oven.  I don’t know… it’s just genius and everyone should just listen to me and do it.

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As for the actual shepherd’s pie.  Wow.  It was delicious.  I tweaked the recipe a little to make it easier and I really just didn’t think some of it was super necessary, like adding an egg to the mashed potatoes and I wanted peas in mine… little things like that.  I think what really made it so good was the A1 sauce I decided to throw in there at the end.  I have a feeling that’s not a normal ingredient to go into shepherd’s pie, considering I haven’t seen it used in any of the recipes I looked up, but believe me when I tell you, adding A1 sauce brings it to the next level.  You get an extra kick of salty-sweet-tanginess that you really just can’t get from anything else.  We even added more once we dished it all up for dinner!

There’s just no way you can go wrong with this dish.  Meat and potatoes.  Isn’t that every guy’s dream?  It’s a little time consuming to make since you have to the filling and the mashed potatoes to go on top, but I can promise you, it’s worth all the work.  It’ll feed you and another person two dinners and a lunch and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be wishing for more after every bite!

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Skillet Shepherd’s Pie 
Adapted from Laura’s Sweet Spot
Makes 6 servings (it fed Brad and I two dinners and a lunch)

1 pound ground beef
2-3 pounds of russet potatoes, cut into chunks (you can peel them but I prefer the skins on)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2-1 whole cup milk (just depending on how thick you want your mashed potatoes)
Butter (to go into your mashed potatoes.  Dare I say I used a whole stick of butter in mine??)
1/2 onion finely shopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-4 tablespoons of A1 sauce (start off with a little and taste as you go)
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Ok- put the potatoes into a large pot and put enough water to cover the potatoes by about an inch. Add a hefty pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your potato chunks.  Drain.  Mash the potatoes either with a masher or with a hand mixer.  Add the milk a little at a time along with the butter until you get a desired texture and taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside when finished.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onions and carrots.  Once they start to soften, add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned, drain any leftover fat.  Mix in the tomato paste and then slowly add the beef broth, worcestershire sauce and A1 sauce.  Again, add a little of the A1 sauce at a time making sure to not add too much for your liking.  Bring to a boil.  Add thyme and peas and simmer for about 5 minutes.  To thicken the sauce, pull a couple spoonfuls of the sauce and mix with the cornstarch to create a thin paste.  Stir into the meat and veggies mixture.  Allow to simmer for another 5-7 minutes until sauce is nice and thick (you might have to add more cornstarch).  Spoon the mashed potatoes onto the top of the meat and spread around evenly.  Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.  It’s already hot so it doesn’t have to go in there for very long.  You can flip the broiler on to just brown the tops of the potatoes, but I wanted to bake it for a little while.

Remove from oven carefully (the sauce seeps up from under the potatoes) and let it sit for a couple minutes.  Spoon into bowls and enjoy!!



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