Tuesday, April 24, 2012

American Shepherd's Pie

American Shepherd's Pie, known elsewhere as Cottage Pie, is a mixture of ground beef and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes and cheese and a great way to use up leftovers.
American Shepherd's Pie, known elsewhere as Cottage Pie, is a mixture of ground beef and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes and cheese and a great way to use up leftovers.

American Shepherd's Pie

What a gorgeous few days it has been down here in South Mississippi, and while it's a tiny bit cooler for a couple of days, I'm gonna sneak this Shepherd's Pie in real quick while I can. I actually made it a couple weeks back when I shared it with a few folks who were asking for my recipe, but then it got kinda hot early, so I held off on sharing it here on the site.

Shepherd's Pie is really not much more than a baked meat and vegetable casserole topped with potatoes, often using leftovers. It's a little like a beef pot pie made with ground beef instead of roast meat.

To the best of my knowledge, Shepherd's Pie in the U.S. is actually what would be considered Cottage Pie on the other side of the pond. Gastronomically speaking, an authentic Shepherd's pie is traditionally made using lamb, hence the name since, well, that is the animal most associated with a shepherd.

Cottage Pie is a similar version made with beef.
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If you talk about Cottage Pie in the United States though, it's not likely that many people will know what you mean, but mention Shepherd's Pie, the majority of folks know exactly what it is.

We don't eat a lot of lamb in the United States, so we call the version made with ground beef, Shepherd's Pie, and beef is what most folks here in The South would expect if you were to serve them Shepherd's Pie.

Well, considering we Americans have always been a bit stubborn and somewhat rebellious when it comes to being told what to do, Shepherd's Pie is what I'm gonna call mine too, though I guess I'll tack on the "American" to be clear.

Of course, as always with most classic recipes, Shepherd's Pie is widely varied in what ingredients it contains, generally depending on what you grew up with. Mine is pretty much a very basic version. Here's how I make it.

We're going to prepare what is essentially known as a mince. Butter a 2-1/2 quart baking dish and set aside. Brown 2 pounds of ground beef in a skillet, breaking up into smaller pieces; drain off any excess oil.

Add the bell pepper and onion.

Add the garlic and carrots and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Add the drained tomatoes and sauce.

Add seasonings, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and flour and cook for about 5 minutes longer.

Add half of the cheese and the frozen peas; transfer to baking dish.

Spoon potatoes on top. You can spread them out into an even full layer across the top or spoon dollops on top, as I have pictured it here, which actually makes it easier to establish and spoon out individual servings.

Top with cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until bubbly and top is light brown; remove and let rest 10 minutes.

Dig in!

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Posted by on April 24, 2012
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