Right now we’re kinda in between seasons. It’s technically fall. But produce-wise, we’ve still got a few summer treats hanging on (hello zucchini!), yet are simultaneously moving into the winter goodies (hello root veggies!).
This Shepherd’s Pie is a mash of the two (no pun intended, hello mashed potatoes!).
This is a great dish for using leftovers. Mostly on the mashed potato end. You may want to bookmark this one for Thanksgiving, along with Shepherd’s Pie of the South. One uses up the leftover turkey or chicken, the other uses up the mashed potatoes. No, it’s not too early to start planning what you’re going to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s never too early to menu plan. 😉
Back to October, which is a great month, by-the-way. We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago, and the baseball postseason is in full swing. Yeah, both of these make me happy. Add to that the cooler weather and falling leaves and you may understand why this is my absolute favorite time of the year.
Since it’s my favorite month, we should eat some of my favorite foods. We should enjoy hearty, warm meals. We should bring out the quilts and hot chocolate mugs. We should eat Shepherd’s Pie (and Chicken Pot Pie, and Chili and Cornbread, and… oh I’m getting hungry).
One thing that I love about Shepherd’s Pie is that it’s a great way to use yesterday’s dinner. I’m a big fan of making yummy foods and then repurposing the leftovers. Want to see how it could work? Say Sunday’s dinner is Roasted Chicken, with Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom and Savory Gravy, and Steamed Carrots with Honey and Butter. By making a little more than you will need the first night, you give yourself the starting points for the rest of the week’s dinners. Monday: Chicken and Rice Soup. Tuesday: Shepherd’s Pie. Wednesday: Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwiches. Thursday: Chicken Club Pizza. Friday: Sheppy Pasta (make extra Shepherd’s Pie filling and toss with pasta and tomatoes). Saturday: Soup Day (Taco Soup, Mashed Potato Soup, and definitely remember to make some Chicken Stock with the chicken bones). (Of course make sure that foods are frozen if they will be saved for more than a few days, and re-heated to a safe temperature… but you knew that.)
Another thing that I love about Shepherd’s Pie is that it just tastes so darn good. Starting at the top, we’ve got some cheese. It’s all melty and maybe a bit crispy where it touches the skillet. Then a layer of Mashed Potatoes. Well, I love those on their own, so I can’t really go wrong here. And the foundation of this dish, ground beef (you could also use tempeh, chicken, maybe even tofu), veggies, and a bit of sauce. Well, sure, don’t mind if I do. You can make a big skillet to feed the whole family, or make individual portions and heat them up one or two at a time (I like to use medium-sized ramekins for this). It freezes well, so once everyone has eaten their fill, pop them into single serving containers and they can be saved for lunches. I wonder, maybe you could even fry an egg and slide it on top of the pie, then toast some bread, top it with a tomato slice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil, and have it for breakfast… stranger things have happened.
However it’s eaten, this meal is a winner in my book. Husband’s too. We love pie… especially the savory kind.
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 4 small radishes, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- to taste, salt
- to taste, pepper
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/2 t coriander
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch cumin
- 1 C peas (frozen are fine)
- 5 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T tomato paste
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1/4 C cold water
- 1 C stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
- 4-6 C warm/hot mashed potatoes (4 large potatoes)
- 1/2 to 1 C Gruyere cheese, grated
- sprinkle coriander
- sprinkle chili powder
- Pre-heat oven to 375F.
- Heat oven safe skillet. Add beef. When partially cooked, add carrots through cumin. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
- Add peas and garlic, cook 1 minute.
- Add balsamic vinegar and tomato paste, cook 2 minutes.
- Whisk cornstarch with water and stock. Add to veggies and beef. Bring to a boil and let sauce thicken.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Smooth out and top with mashed potatoes, cheese, and sprinkle with coriander and chili powder. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and potatoes are hot.