My (Non-Traditional) Shepherd's Pie

    I love casseroles. I really love casseroles that are meaty pies. Shepherd’s Pie is delicious & my version is certainly my favorite. My mom used to make shepherd’s pie a lot when I was younger & she still does. I remember asking her once why it was called Shepherd’s Pie. As always, she had one of her creative but believable answers handy. She told me it was what the shepherd’s made with all their leftovers, throwing them all in one big pot. I’m not totally sure if this is even slightly true, or if the name of the dish simply derived from the lamb its traditionally made with, but I’m still convinced my mother’s response was (partially) correct. 

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I use an onion, garlic, ground beef, green beans, canned tomatoes, carrots, corn, ketchup, & mashed potatoes.

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    Dice an entire medium sized onion & mince 4-5 cloves of garlic (use less if you like, but I love the flavor this adds & its the only seasoning I use in this pie). Melt a bit  lot of butter of in a large pan. Add the garlic & onions. 

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    Saute on medium heat till the garlic begins to brown & the onions become transparent, like this!

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Now add the meat to the same pan. I used 2 lbs. of ground beef. Feel free to use just 1 lb. if you like. The boys in my house really like the meat part so this worked for us. Continue cooking on medium/high heat. 

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While the meat is browning, dump a can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), a can of cooked corn-drained, a can of cooked carrots-drained, & a bag of frozen green beans into a separate pan to warm them up on medium heat. Frozen/canned veggies can be traded out. 

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    Add 3/4 c. of ketchup to the vegetable mixture and stir in over medium heat till the sauce thickens. This adds some great sweetness & gravy-like texture to the veggies. If you don’t like that, skip this step.

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Your ground beef should be cooked through & nicely browned by now. 

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     So empty both pans, vegetable mixture & meat mixture, into a 13×9 casserole dish. Just plop them right on top of each other.

 

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Combine everything into an even layer in the bottom of the casserole dish. Isn’t it looking pretty?

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    Now my favorite part, 6 c. of creamy mashed potatoes. Spread a layer of prepared mashed potatoes over the top of the casserole. This is a great use for leftover mashed potatoes.

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This is optional, but I like to cover the top in a layer of shredded cheese. Any kinds works, I use whatever is on hand at the time.

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    Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cheese gets bubbly/melted. If you’re not putting the cheese on top just till the tops of the potatoes are hardly browned. This is a great recipe to half between 2 smaller casserole dishes; freeze one for later & bake the other. Its also easy to double for a larger crowd. Enjoy!



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