Let’s be clear. Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb (hence ‘Shepherd’) and Cottage pie is made with beef. End of story. You made a Shepherd’s pie but you used beef? No, you made Cottage pie. So when you pick up a Shepherd’s Pie from Trader Joe’s, be warned. I love that place but they are selling you Cottage Pie, not Shepherd’s. How do I know? I’m from Britain, trust me,
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to it. Fall is here, days are getting chillier and it is the perfect time to make Shepherd’s pie. Before discovering frozen mashed potatoes (and here I do commend Trader Joe’s, theirs are particularly good) this meaty feast was relegated to weekends, now it can be enjoyed any day of the week sans the dread of having to peel, boil and mash potatoes. Bliss!
This pie is pretty straightforward, but your choice of equipment for cooking and baking can make quite a difference.
When sautéing the filling, choose a deep, wide pan or pot with steep sides. Don’t use a frying pan. Frying pans result in a dry mixture and you want your pie to have a velvety, bubbling sauce when serving. But you still want enough space to cook everything evenly and get a little bit of caramelization on the bottom. I use a cast iron, enamel dutch oven. OK, I admit it, it’s Le Creuset and I love it.
The baking dish you use is also vital. Again, go for deep sides and a smaller bottom. This will retain more liquid and you will have a deeper, more satisfying pie rather than a thin layer of meat and potatoes.
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive
1 large onion chopped
2 medium carrots diced (please, use a food processor and keep your sanity if you’re busy)
1 pound ground lamb, yes lamb! Did I mention that this is SHEPHERD’S pie and not COTTAGE pie???
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh time leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 glass of red wine
¼ cup of beef stock or broth
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
½ cup of frozen peas
1 28 ounce bag of frozen mashed potatoes
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