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Easy Shepherds Pie Recipe

At the origin in the shepherds pie history, this English staple food was consumed mostly by people who lived in Scotland, Ireland and other northern England regions. Although the recipes were first noted to appear in the 19th century the pie can trace its early roots back to the Middle Ages.

For many individuals who lived during the period meat pies were a simple and filling dish that could be prepared from rabbits, sheep, cows and poultry. The meat would be cooked and served in what was essentially a pastry concoction prepared with flour, lard and salt.

On the mentioned areas where the dish was originated there was an abundance of sheep. A typical pie is made with minced or shredded mutton (mature sheep) and then it is layered with creamy mashed potatoes. It was a cheap and simple recipe that allowed people to stretch the stock of leftover food and pantry ingredients.

The pie that includes beef as main ingredient is supposed to be called a cottage pie, while the other is assumed to have lamb.

However, since they are very similar most people just call both shepherds pie.

Shepherds - potatoes with ground meat

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 2 hours

Servings: 8

Ingredients for the potato topping:

  •  1/3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  1/2 cup heavy cream (or potato milk)
  •  7 Russet potatoes
  •  1/3 tsp salt
  •  1/2 tsp white pepper
  •  1/4 tsp finely crushed rosemary leaves
  •  1 unpeeled garlic bulb

Ingredients for the pie base:

  • 1 1/4 pound fresh ground beef or ground turkey (You can substitute the meat with sliced Portobello mushrooms.)
  • 3/4 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of celery seeds
  • 1 cup burger crumbles (can also be vegetarian)
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped turnip roots (peeled)
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thaw slightly before use
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
  • 3/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp potato flour (or corn starch)
  • parsley

Directions on the mashed potato topping:

  1. Set the oven to 350°F (177°C).

  2. Remove about 1/4 inch from the root end of the unpeeled garlic bulb.

  3. Place the garlic bulb in a roasting dish and coat with the olive oil. Cover the dish and allow it to bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

  4. Remove garlic from oven and set it on the counter to cool while you finish the recipe preparations.

  5. Slice the peeled potatoes into thick rounds of 1/2 to 3/4 inches, each.

  6. Add potatoes and 3 quarts of water to a large stock pot. Boil for 20 minutes.

  7. Drain potatoes in a colander.

  8. Add potatoes and cream (or potato milk) to a big bowl. Use a hand mixer to puree this mixture.

  9. Now add the salt, pepper, rosemary and roasted garlic to the potatoes; mix well.

Directions for the shepherds pie base:

  1. Add 3/4 tsp of olive oil to a saucepan and sauté the chopped onion.

  2. The put the ground meat (or sliced mushrooms) on the pan; with a garlic press you can now add the 3 garlic cloves into the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes.

  3. Cooked ground beef

  4. Add the burger crumbles, celery, turnips and 1/2 cup vegetable stock.

  5. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

  6. Stir in the salt, pepper, celery seeds and rosemary.

  7. Cook the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes with a cover on top of the saucepan.

  8. Now reduce the heat to low.

  9. Mix the remaining vegetable stock with the flour; whisk the ingredients and add to the saucepan.

  10. Whisk
  11. Cook on low heat only until the mixture has thickened.

  12. After moving the saucepan away from the stove you can add the frozen peas.

Putting together the cottage pie (shepherds):

  1. Be sure you have preheated your oven to 350°F (177°C).

  2. Coat the interior of an 11" x 8" baking dish with your non-stick cooking spray.

  3. Layer the pie base into the baking dish.

  4. Top the base with the layer of mashed potatoes.

  5. Do not cover your dish. Allow it to cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

  6. Garnish the top of the shepherds pie with parsley prior to serving.

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