The Speckled Palate
January 25, 2016

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie is a wintertime favorite. Beef, onions, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, peas and more are cooked together and topped with a mashed potato topping, then baked to make the ultimate winter comfort food.

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but we had an uncharacteristically beautiful week and weekend in Dallas. It’s gorgeous today, too.

Strangely enough, it looks like we’re going to make it out of January without spending much time below freezing.

The thing is… around this time of year, I always want to see some sort of winter precipitation. Because if it’s the winter time, I’d love to see some snow fall… and then for us to bundle up indoors and watch it with a mug of cocoa from the comfort of our home, which still conveniently has power.

I know.

I know.

Shepherd's Pie is a wintertime favorite. Beef, onions, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, peas and more are cooked together and topped with a mashed potato topping, then baked to make the ultimate winter comfort food.

I’m ridiculous and mean.

Lots of y’all are buried beneath snow from this weekend’s blizzard, and for that, I’m sorry, because it sounds miserable.

Because I’m sorry, how about a comforting, cozy dish you can enjoy while you slog through this recent storm?

Shepherd's Pie is a wintertime favorite. Beef, onions, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, peas and more are cooked together and topped with a mashed potato topping, then baked to make the ultimate winter comfort food.

Shepherd’s Pie is one of our favorite wintertime comfort dishes. And like most of my favorite dishes, it has a bit of a story behind it.

My aunt sent me the The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook shortly after Winston and I got married in 2010. Our first winter of marriage was crazy, and it snowed/iced several times in Nashville, where we lived at the time.

One occasion when we were stuck in the condo, I decided it was time to try out this recipe I’d read about. It took a little while to get everything together… but once it was done, I understood just why people talk about this dish the way they do: it’s freaking delicious.

In the years since, I’ve changed the recipe up incrementally, adding and taking away various veggies and adding meat to find our favorite combination.

This rendition? It’s darn good, even though it looks and tastes nothing like Katzen’s original.

Here’s how we make it:

Shepherd's Pie is a wintertime favorite. Beef, onions, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, peas and more are cooked together and topped with a mashed potato topping, then baked to make the ultimate winter comfort food.
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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is a wintertime favorite. Beef, onions, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, peas and more are cooked together and topped with a mashed potato topping, then baked to make the ultimate winter comfort food.
Course Entree
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Author Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate

Ingredients

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 2 russet potatoes , baked
  • 2 tablespoons milk (plus an additional 1-2, depending on consistency)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 5 cloves garlic , roasted and minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese , on top

Hash

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb . ground beef (85% lean)
  • 2 medium onions , chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper , chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 cup broccoli florets , frozen
  • 1 cup peas , frozen
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

Make the Mashed Potato Topping

  1. Scoop the potatoes out of their skins into a large bowl.
  2. Pour in the 2 tablespoons of milk, add the butter, garlic and pepper.
  3. Mix using a whisk or a hand mixer until the desired consistency. Add more milk if necessary.
  4. Set aside.

Make the Hash

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the ground beef, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic to the pan. Season with the salt.
  3. Cook the beef until it's browned. The veggies will be soft, too, at this point.
  4. Add the broccoli and peas. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the veggies have begun to thaw.
  5. Add the vinegar, then the breadcrumbs and cheese.
  6. Stir until everything is incorporated and the cheese is melted.

Make the Shepherd's Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Transfer the hash into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Top the hash with the mashed potatoes, then sprinkle the potatoes with the additional cheese.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, then enjoy warm!

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Mollie Katzen's The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Shepherd's Pie is a wintertime favorite. Beef, onions, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, peas and more are cooked together and topped with a mashed potato topping, then baked to make the ultimate winter comfort food.

What kind of comfort food do you want to eat during the winter?

4 Comments

  1. Carlee

    I haven’t made a Shepherd’s Pie in a while and it sounds perfect right now! Luckily we only got a couple of inches of snow, followed by relatively warm weather so we could bundle up the little guy to go play in it. I am so glad we don’t have the mess that hit the east coast. I am not a cold weather gal!

    • Erin

      I’m glad that you didn’t get too much snow and that it was bracketed with some warmer weather so it didn’t become a mess. I cannot imagine a snowstorm of the likes on the East Coast. (I’m SUCH a Southern girl, I know.) I hope you enjoy this dish if you make it! It’s the perfect kind of comfort food for a chilly winter night!

  2. Alli

    Do you know about Chris and my made up holiday Erin Go Purim? Purim is a Jewish holiday. It’s a big party holiday and it generally falls close to St. Patrick’s Day. Since Chris is Irish and I’m Jewish, we have people over for a Jewish/Irish mashup of food, drinks, and fun. I just pinned this to my board for potential things to make for this year’s party so thank you!

    • Erin

      NO! I did not know that you and Chris have a made-up holiday called Erin Go Purim! I love that y’all are combining two holidays and presenting a delicious mashup of food, drinks and fun for your guests. Such fun! I wish we lived in NYC so we could attend and try all the different foods from both!

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