If you grew up in a British household, chances are shepherd’s pie was high on the rotation of dinners your mom made. I know it was for us. My mom’s shepherd’s pie was nothing to write home about. We continually joke about it today. In fact, throughout the 70’s there wasn’t much in my mom’s rotation that was worth writing home about.
Through the years, she definitely improved and when I went away to college, I missed her cooking. She stuck to the basics. Spaghetti, lasagna (she can make a mean chicken lasagna which was always my favorite), chicken, chicken, chicken and shepherd’s pie.
My mom’s shepherd’s pie was basically ground beef with some spices (maybe, I’m not sure she even used spices then), a few peas, probably an onion and mashed potatoes. I hated it growing up, but now it’s one of my favorite meals. I’ve come across a few recipes that I’ve liked, including a chicken version, but I have to say the one I made the other night, a recipe from Family Circle, will definitely stay in my rotation.
Both picky eaters liked it, and that speaks volumes. It was easy, didn’t take a lot of time and it was delish. Worth writing a blog about, if I do say so myself.
The reality is cooking skills take time to develop. For some, it takes years (and years, and years) while others pick it up quite easily. So, keep cooking and making new things, eventually your kids will like it, even if it does take 20 years.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 19 minutes
Bake 375° for 35 minutes
2 ½ lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen peas (I only used half the bag)
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (I used dried thyme)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried rosemary)
Heat oven to 375°. Add potatoes to a large lidded pot and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 10 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and return to pot. Add milk, 2 tbsp of the butter, ½ tsp of the salt and ¼ tsp of the pepper. Mash until smooth. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, add remaining 1 tbsp butter to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in beef, breaking apart with a spoon, as well as carrots, celery and onion. Cook 15 minutes until vegetables are softened. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste, beef broth and peas. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes, until liquid is slightly thickened and peas are thawed. Stir in remaining ½ tsp of the salt, remaining ¼ tsp of the pepper, the thyme and rosemary.
Transfer meat-and-vegetable mixture to a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Spread sweet potatoes over mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Swirl top with back of a spoon, if desired. Bake at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes or until shepherd’s pie is bubbling.
What do you mean my shepherd’s pie was awful ? – it was Suzanne’s favourite – it had onions, peas and carrots in it – salt, pepper and the always on hand bisto and oxo cubes for the gravy. I must agree the one I make now is a bit more flavourful , but I’m definitely going to try the sweet potato one it looks delicious. I did like your blog as you said my cooking had improved – I think back in the day there was no one to mentor you, and the cook books were mediocre at best – look at the selection of spices we have now, and the selection at the grocery store for meats and vegs is awesome, and of course the all inspiring FOOD NETWORK Woo Hoo…