It speaks to my love of potatoes that I consider this luscious Shepherd's Pie to be little more than a vehicle for creamy, cheesy spuds. The stew base underneath, however, is equally delish. It is full of tender beef and flavorful root vegetables, all cloaked in a rich gravy.
Leftover mashed potatoes are a sin. They are never as good as the original, losing moisture, fluff, flavor, and magic once they have been packed up and sent for a night in the fridge. The only way to revive them in a manner equal to their original glory is to gussy them up a bit and bake them.
It speaks to my love of potatoes that I consider this luscious Shepherd’s Pie to be little more than a vehicle for creamy, cheesy spuds. The stew base underneath, however, is equally delish. It is full of tender beef and flavorful root vegetables, all cloaked in a rich gravy.
We enjoyed this dish with a side of thin string beans with a squeeze of lemon juice, but a simple salad would be fine as well. Enjoy those potatoes!
4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 1/4 cups grated smoked cheddar cheese
milk, as needed
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/4 pound beef stew meat
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
a dash of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 cups diced root vegetables (parsnip, turnip, carrot, etc.)
1 cup frozen peas
- Place a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil, followed by the cubed beef. Brown the meat on all sides.
- Add the onion to the pan, and sprinkle the salt over the meat and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent.
- Adjust the flame to low, and stir in the garlic, thyme, nutmeg and tomato paste. Then sprinkle the flour into the pan. Stir well.
- Add the wine and broth to the pan. Increase the heat to high. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and stir well until the flour has been totally dissolved. A whisk may be helpful here.
- Bring the liquid to a low simmer. Cover and cook for thirty minutes, then add the root vegetables. Cool for one more hour, stirring occasionally, and removing the lid for the last fifteen minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- If your mashed potatoes are ice cold, microwave them for a few minutes to loosen them up a bit. Add some milk, or even some water if they are too dry. Stir in one cup of the grated cheddar cheese.
- When the meat and vegetables are tender, remove from the heat. Let cool for twenty minutes or so. Stir in the peas.
- Use a small spoon to place dollops of mashed potatoes evenly spaced on top of the meat and veggie mixture. After all the potatoes have been added, use a fork to smooth the potatoes down and create an even crust covering the whole skillet. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the pie.
- Cover, and bake for twenty minutes. Remove the cover, increase the heat to 425 degrees and cook for an additional twenty minutes, or until the potato crust is crunchy and beginning to brown.
- Remove the shepherd’s pie from the oven and let it rest for ten minutes before serving.
This recipe will yield six servings.