A rich, well-seasoned, nicely browned shepherd’s pie is one of the world’s great comfort food dishes. It’s a simple meat stew, spread in a shallow baking dish, covered with mashed potatoes and baked until the whole thing is hot and bubbly, the top golden, crispy around the edges. You begin by making a batch of buttery mashed potatoes and setting those aside, Then you make a simple ground-beef stew with onion, carrot, celery, and sweet frozen peas. Assemble, send to a medium-hot oven for 20 minutes, and dinner is served.
For more savory pies, check out our Beef Short Rib and Ale Pie, Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pies, and Fish Pie.by Kim Laidlaw
- Yield: 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 30 mins
- Active: 35 mins
- 1 3/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably free-range or organic
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup frozen petite peas
- Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of cold salted water, bring to the boil over medium-high heat and boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander, return the potatoes to the saucepan, add 4 tablespoons of the butter and the milk, and mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt. Cover to keep warm until ready to use.
- To make the filling, in a large frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring, until browned. Pour off any fat, then add the broth, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the peas.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a -quart shallow baking dish. Add the beef mixture in an even layer and then top with the mashed potatoes in an even layer. Use a fork to “ruffle” the top. Dot with the the remaining butter.
- Bake until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.