Tonight We are Carving Pumpkins

About ten years ago I threw a party for a bunch of my twenty-something friends.  We met at my place for dinner, pumpkin carving and a pinata.  (Hey, who doesn’t love a pinata?)  Anyway, I cooked my first-ever Shepherd’s Pie and I was hooked.  I didn’t exactly follow the recipe, but it still turned out great.  Rather than using cooked lamb (which I’m not a big fan of – too gamey tasting) I used plain ‘ol raw ground beef.  I sauteed an onion and garlic in a little olive oil added some dried rosemary and then the beef.  Meanwhile, I boiled the potatoes and then mashed them with some milk and TONS of butter (more on that in a later post!) with a little salt and pepper.  I put the meat mixture into a deep casserole dish and topped it with the mashed potatoes.  And of course, no Shepherd’s Pie would be complete without a criss-cross of fork marks.  I threw it in the oven for about 30 minutes and Voila!  It was a huge hit!  A tradition was born…..

Cooking for Madison Shepards Pie

Tonight I am carving pumpkins with Madison and my brother, Joel.  And guess what’s for dinner?  You got it – Shepherd’s Pie.  The recipe has evolved over the years but it’s still one of my cool weather favorites.  Here is the recipe I used tonight:

1-1/2 lb ground beef
1-1/2 lb ground turkey
1 medium white onion
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp Allspice
1 tbsp Olive Oil
8 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup beef broth (I cheat and used 1/2 beef bullion cube and 1/4 vegetable bullion cube with 3/4 cup water)
8 potatoes
3 tbsp milk
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet add olive oil, diced onion and chopped garlic.  Saute over med-high high heat until onions are transparent.  Add beef, turkey, chopped rosemary, Allspice, salt and pepper.  Cook until meat loses it’s pinkness.  Meanwhile, boil potatoes.  When potatoes are done (insert a fork to test – when it practically slices the potatoes, they’re done) mash them with milk, 4 tbsp butter, salt and pepper.  In a small skillet, melt 4 tbsp butter then add flour.  Mix until flour dissolves then add the beef broth.  Mix constantly until gravy loses it’s floury taste.  Pour over the meat mixture and stir well to combine.  In a 3-quart casserole dish, spread the meat mixture on the bottom and spread the mashed potatoes over the top.  Use a fork to create a criss-cross pattern in the potatoes.  Cook for 30 minutes or until potato top is crispy.

2 comments on “Tonight We are Carving Pumpkins

  1. ariane
    October 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    I have been thinking about shepards pie for months- so excited that I have a recipe so I can make it!!!!

    • Lisa
      November 2, 2010 at 7:41 am #

      Coming from Canada, Shepards pie was a winter staple. My aunt always makes a couple at a time and freezes them in the casserole dish. It makes for a quick meal after work to pull out of the freezer. We always had ground beef too, and added a veggie. As a kid, my favorite was creamed corn, but a lot of people put peas too.
      Love the flavors in this recipe- we are going to try it!

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