Posted: July 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

When my daughter returned from a week at summer camp recently, I asked her what she wanted for her first meal. She quickly went to her comfort zone and asked for Shepherds pie.

Using the Food Network recipe by Alton Brown as a guide, we made our own changes to accommodate the fact that she doesn’t like lamb. (The original recipe calls for ground lamb. We went with a bottom round beef roast that I trimmed and cubed.)

And, if we’re talking about comfort food, how could adding grated cheddar cheese hurt anything?

It came out absolutely delicious!

A few notes: I use organic vegetables, organic grass-fed dairy products, grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, and homemade chicken stock. These extra efforts make a difference to me, but use what you are most comfortable with and have easiest access to.

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, the only gluten in this recipe is in the all-purpose flour. Using a GF flour, like Cup 4 Cup, does a great job of thickening without the gluten. Feel free to substitute it.

2 oz. cheddar cheese

I start by grating 2 the cheddar cheese. I set it aside for later.

The potatoes…

1 1/2 lbs. Russets, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 oz. unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Peeled and cubed potatoes and place them in a pot of cold water. Bring it to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender.
While they are boiling, place the half-and-half and butter in a microwave safe bowl and zap them for 35 seconds to warm them up.
Once the potatoes are done, drain them and place them back in the pot. Add the half-and-half and butter and mash really well. Add the salt and pepper and continue mashing. Finally, add the egg yolk, mixing quickly and thoroughly. Then set the potatoes aside.

The meat filling…

2 tablespoons bacon fat (or your favorite oil)
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 lbs. beef, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 400°.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the meat filling.

Place the bacon fat or oil in a pan and set it on medium high heat. Add the onions and the carrots and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and stir.
Add the beef and the salt and pepper and cook until the meat has browned nicely.
Sprinkle to meat with the flour, and mix to combine, cooking for another minute.
Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, and thyme, and stir to combine.
Bring this to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and cook it for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened nicely.

Add the corn and the peas to the meat mixture, and then pour it into a baking pan. ( I used a 9-inch round metal baking pan that was about 3 inches deep.)

Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture. If you use the mashed potatoes all around the edges, it seals the meat mixture in, and prevents bubbling over and messing up your oven. A rubber spatula makes this job easy.

Place the pan on a parchment-lined baking sheet (to prevent spills), and in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the pan and sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes. Then return the pan to the oven for 10 more minutes, until the cheese has melted and created a beautiful golden crust on top.

Remove the pan from the oven, placed it on a wire rack, and let it cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


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