Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe came to me in an email from Food Network, by Melissa d’Arabian.  It is easy to make but time consuming however you can tell by the taste (which was excellent) that it was made from scratch and slowly.  I read online that this actually isn’t truly Shepherd’s Pie because Shepherd’s Pie has lamb in it, this is Cottage Pie which has beef but either way, it was delicious and worth the time it took to make.

garlicky potato topping:

4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (my potatoes were small so I used eight)

10 whole garlic cloves, peeled (10 seemed like a lot so I just used 2)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 – 1/2 cup beef broth (I only needed the 1/4 cup)

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

filling:

4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips (I just went ahead and used the whole package because what’s better than bacon?  more bacon!)

1 tablespoon oil (if you use the whole package of bacon, you won’t need this additional oil)

2 medium onions, chopped

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon sugar

1 pound ground beef

2 – 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 garlic cloves, pressed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon flour

1 (12 oz) bottle light or dark beer (I used beef broth in place of the beer)

1/2 cup beef broth

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary leaves (I’m not a big rosemary fan so I left this out)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup grated Swiss or Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (left these out too)

Prepare potato topping:  In a large saucepan, add potatoes and garlic and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.  Drain.  Transfer potatoes and garlic to a large bowl.  Add sour cream, 1/4 cup broth, butter, salt and pepper and beat on low speed with a hand mixer until potatoes are light and fluffy, about 1 – 2 minutes.  If mixture is too dry, add remaining 1/4 cup broth.  Do not overmix.  Cover and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 10″ round baking dish with cooking spray.  (I actually had about 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and the extra bacon so I knew a dish this size wouldn’t be big enough so I used my stoneware oval baker which was big enough to hold all the ingredients but during baking it overflowed and started a fire in the bottom of my oven so you might want to go with a bigger pan and also put a cookie sheet under it just to be safe.)

Prepare filling:  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and almost crisp, about 7 – 8 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate and set aside.

Add oil to drippings in skillet (unless you used the whole pack of bacon in which case you won’t need any more oil) and put over medium heat.  Add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle in sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to caramelize, about 3 minutes.  Stir in beef and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat, until beef begins to brown, about 7 minutes.  Add carrots, peas and garlic and cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste and flour and cook, stirring, until well blended, about 2 minutes.  Add beer, bring to boil and boil 3 minutes.  Cook, stirring with wooden spoon, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, about 2 minutes.  Add bacon, broth, rosemary, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.

Spoon meat mixture into prepared baking dish.  Spread potato topping evenly over beef mixture.  Bake until filling is hot, topping is lightly browned and edges are bubbly, about 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.  Return to oven for 10 minutes.  Let rest out of oven 10 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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