Happy September! Autumn is almost here and that means more comfort food, casseroles, slow cookers, soups and stews for the blog. And speaking of comfort food, if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to make a good Shepherd’s pie. I like my filling hearty and beefy and my mashed potatoes fluffy.
I never really had a recipe. It’s something I perfected over the years. A little bit of chives in the mashed potatoes gives it some color contrast and freshness. A cheesy layer in between for my cheese fix. A dash of Worcestershire sauce to add some depth of flavor to the filling. Some beef bouillon cubes to give it that concentrated beef flavor.
My Shepherd’s pie always disappears pretty darn fast in my house so I think I’m on the right track.
I used to make an extra beefy version before with a flavor concentrate like Bovril, Marmite or Vegemite. But since that stuff is so hard to find, here’s an approachable recipe that’s all done in the skillet. Except for the mashed potatoes of course. If you want to skip making mashed potatoes from scratch, this works well with the instant kind too. For those short of time or just plain lazy. I won’t tell! But aside from that, you brown the beef, simmer the fillings, layer it and bake it all in the skillet.
So it’s good to use that cast iron skillet of yours, something I really like playing with lately. Sure it’s a lot of maintenance with the constant oil rub down after every use, but I think it’s worth it. Since most of the cooking will be down on the stove, not much time is needed in the oven. It’s mostly to brown the mashed potatoes and give it a nice crusty yumminess.
I like to take a fork and tease the mashed potatoes into small waves. The textures really show when it’s browned and they turn out super crisp. Mr. Cooking Jar said it looked like a coconut cream pie with a surprise beef filling! All you need to do is use the tines of the fork and sort of pull it upwards at the end of each stroke.
So bring out your cast iron skillet and let’s do this!
- 2 lb. ground beef
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 12 oz. frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- Pepper to taste
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped and divided
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Over medium high heat bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and simmer until fork tender, about 20 minutes
- Drain and transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add butter and milk and mash until fluffy
- Season with ½ tablespoon chives and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
- In a 10" cast iron pan over medium heat, brown the beef until fully cooked. Drain off any fat. Remove beef and set aside
- In the same pan, saute onions and garlic until translucent
- Add mixed vegetables, crumble beef bouillon cubes and simmer till vegetables are soft
- Toss in beef, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and season with pepper to taste. Stir to mix thoroughly
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavors marry
- Remove from heat and compress the beef layer before topping with a layer of cheddar cheese
- Finish with a thick layer of mashed potatoes and sprinkle Parmesan and leftover chives to finish
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are browned
- Broil at 400 degrees F for 3-5 minutes if needed to brown them more
- Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving warm