Shepherd’s Pie

I love dinners that are full of veggies and comfort. Well this recipe from kitchen stewardship has both. (I love Katie from Kitchen Stewardship. I suggest you check out her website and recipes and ebooks for fabulous whole foods cooking.) It’s one of my favorites and is a fantastic freezer meal. I made a couple in September and froze them and we just ate one this week and after thawing for several hours then cooking for 2 hours is was perfect. I leave the cheese off till the last 10 min. even when freezing.  So here are my changes.

I add whatever veggies I have. I particularly like broccoli, carrots or parsnips. I usually leave out the peas and the meat as we aren’t big meat eaters. I did try it with ground beef once for company and I didn’t think it was that much better. I usually add a can of pinto beans instead.  It makes a very large 13×9 pan. Since this is the time of year for red potatoes to go on sale it’s a good time to stock up and make this! You won’t be disappointed.

Shepherd’s Pie

2 1/2 lb. red potatoes, chunked
3 cloves crushed garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder), divided
4-6 slices bacon, optional but yummy (I leave this out)
1 lb. ground beef or turkey (I sub pinto beans instead)
(note: a great chance to sneak in liver or heart…)
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground thyme
freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1-2 c. chopped broccoli, including stems
1 c. frozen peas
4 Tbs. flour (or arrowroot starch)
1 c. chicken or beef stock or broth
1 c. plain yogurt, divided
1 egg
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 c. cottage cheese (I leave this out too since I never have any.)
1/2-1 tsp. Real Salt, to taste (or other unrefined sea salt)
1/2 c.+ shredded cheddar cheese, divided (sharp is best)

 

Method:

Boil potatoes with a clove or two of crushed garlic and some sea salt and cook on medium-low until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, get busy in another medium-large pot.

Cook the bacon, drain grease, chop bacon and set aside. In the same pot, brown the ground meat. Drain grease if necessary. [If you’re low on time, you could have the bacon going in a frying pan next to the big pot to speed things up. Or better yet, maybe you are smart and have some already cooked bacon in your freezer!]

Season meat with paprika, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook about 5 minutes to soften veggies, then add red pepper, broccoli, peas, and remaining crushed garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Put the bacon back in.

Stir in flour (or starch), and cook and stir 2 minutes (to get rid of the flour taste). Add broth and 1/2 c. yogurt and bring to a low simmer.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

When the potatoes are tender, stir a ladle of the cooking water into one beaten egg in a small bowl. Drain the potatoes. You can leave them in the pot a few minutes to dry out a bit if you’re still working on all those veggies in the other pot!

Smash the potatoes with butter, 1/2 c. yogurt (or sour cream), salt, pepper, and cottage cheese plus 1/4 c. of the shredded cheddar. Add the egg mixture and stir well.

Pour the meat mixture into an oval or 9×13 casserole dish (usually both, this recipe tends to grow like the loaves and fishes!). Top with potatoes and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 c. cheddar cheese on top. You’ll likely need extra if you divided the meal into two pans. Bake 20 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Serves: many! 8-10 people perhaps?

 

This recipe freezes great once in the pan.  To reheat a frozen casserole, thaw completely and bake at 350F 30-40 minutes until bubbly. You may want to leave the shredded cheese off before you freeze, then add it the last 10 minutes of baking. It’s helpful to cover the casserole with an inverted cookie sheet for the first 20-30 minutes so you don’t burn the potatoes.

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