Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I'm baaaack! Did you miss me?

I apologize for this lengthy absence...I had a weekend of a visiting boyfriend, a weekend of drunken homecoming revelry, and then I moved back home to Illinois. I have been a busy girl!

As I mentioned, my boyfriend came to visit me in Durham a couple weeks ago with his two friends. Together, the three of them are out in Boulder, CO creating the most amazing, bad ass restaurant concept of all time: Sabi Sushi. Think Chipotle, but with sushi: fast, convenient food with the freshest ingredients, custom made to order. That's right, for the first time, YOU actually get to decide what goes in your sushi rolls! Check them out! (<----shameless girlfriend plug).
Anyways, I figured the boys have been working hard and would enjoy a nice, comforting home cooked meal. One of my all time favorite comfort foods is Shepherd's Pie. The thing to know about Shepherd's Pie is that it is neither a pie, nor does it involve shepherds.

Rather, it is a delicious, hearty casserole layered with ground beef, vegetables, and a mashed potato crust. If I may borrow a phrase from the Barefoot Contessa, "How bad could that be?"

  • 2 lbs. ground beef. I used half lean and half regular, but it really doesn't matter.
  • 1 packet Lipton's Onion Soup Mix. This shit is makes EVERYTHING taste better.
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 package frozen peas and carrots. No need to thaw.
  • 6 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes. Just follow the directions on the box. They'll never know....
  • 1 large handful shredded cheese. Optional, and I left it out cause my boyfriend doesn't like cheese for some inexplicable reason.
That's it! This is a great dish for company because you can make it ahead of time and bake it before your guests arrive. Super easy to make, and it makes enough to feed an army. It also freezes marvelously. Cooking for one, my ass!


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and put your beef in it (that's what she said.)

Break up the beef into crumbles as it cooks until it is completely browned. Now comes the gross part: draining the fat (eeeew!) Tip your skillet to one side so all the grease drains over, and spoon it out to discard. Believe me honey, you don't need all that fat.

Whisk your beef broth, tomato paste, Worcesesestershire sauce, and flour with the packet of Lipton's. Add it to the beef mixture and stir to combine.

Spray a 9X13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and lay your ground beef in an even layer on the bottom.

Spread out another layer of the frozen peas and carrots on top of the beef.

Prepare your instant mashed potatoes (usually just requires some additional milk, butter, and salt). Using a spatula, spread the potatoes over the vegetables to create the final layer. To help this mashed potato crust brown, you can rough up the surface with a fork. Or, if you are an awesome girlfriend like I am, you can write the logo of your boyfriend's company in mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle with the optional cheese if desired.

Pop the whole thing into the oven for an hour until it is heated through and the potatoes are nice and browned. Dig in!

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