Do you ever get a craving that just won't go away? I'm talking about weeks of this craving? Well I had one of these. When I was 10, I had an major accident that landed me in the hospital for 4 days. While there, I got to enjoy some hospital food and some of it was amazing! I know what you're thinking... No one in their right mind would enjoy hospital food. I swear, the shepherds pie that they served was awesome. Once I returned home, our family started having the store bought version of shepherds pie on an occasional basis and once again I loved it. However, we got to a point where we all got sick of it and needless to say, I haven't had any shepherds pie since I was 10.
This was fine and dandy until a few weeks back, a friend at work (thank you, Persaud!) had some shepherds pie for lunch. It smelled wonderful and brought me right back to those days when I was 10. I swore I would make some as soon as I got a chance. Unfortunately, things got a little busy with Christmas and New Years getting in the way but I was still determined. Last Sunday night, it happened!
Part of me really wanted to use an established recipe and part of me wanted to throw all recipe ideas out the window (Chef Michael Smith would have been so proud of me!). So I Googled some recipes to see what secret ingredients people were putting in their pies... Some recipes called for a whole array of veggies, some called for few, some made a stew under the mashed potatoes, some used sweet potatoes... I found it all a little overwhelming. So I took a few of the ideas and RAN with it. Here are the things I knew I wanted to get out of this pie:
- To make a large dinner for my family
- To make enough dinner to potentially freeze some as well
- To include as many veggies are humanly possible (including a few that I despise)
- To include some element of tomatoes in with the beef/veg mixture
- To make a classic shepherds pie by using regular potatoes
- To include some delicious grated cheese on top
Not a huge list of wants, but when a girl knows, she just knows (especially this girl!). So, I decided to include green pepper*, onions, carrots*, celery*, peas, corn, and mushrooms (veggies with * are veggies that I don't enjoy eating at all). I sauteed the veggies in a tiny bit of oil and butter (I typically use a combo of the two to get flavour and a higher smoking point).
Then I added some beef (okay, I made a LOT of pie, so I added quite a lot of beef) and let it all cook and get delicious! I also threw in some hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, soy sauce and a small can of tomato paste.
(Notice the two different coloured pans... I had enough meet to make 2 pies!). I then whipped up (literally) some garlic mashed potatoes (potatoes, garlic powder, a few tablespoons of 35% cream, some butter and some LOVIN!) and topped the pies.
My Mum had suggested that I use a piping bag to pipe out the potatoes but in the end I just smoothed them out with a spatula. Once smooth, I added some cheese and then shoved it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 425. Really, everything is cooked so you're really just heating it all through and melting the cheese. Voila mes amis!
I regret not taking a picture of it done or sliced but it was DIVINE! I also apologize for some of the photo quality as I was bouncing between my blackberry's camera and my regular camera.
Go forth and make shepherds pie!