An easy weeknight version of the old favorite. Rich and comforting and perfect for cold winter nights.
Winter is holding tough here in upstate NY, but it’s been fairly benign compared to the winters of late. Still, it’s cold, and my mind wanders to comfort foods often. We work outside a good portion of the day, and it feels so good to come inside and warm up with something satisfying like comfort food.
Shepard’s Pie is one of my husbands favorite meals. Ironically, he really doesn’t like lamb and I don’t think he’s probably ever had the traditional version of the dish. It’s also a recipe that can take a good deal of time and also be a bit pricey, not really anything you can zip together easily on a weeknight.
When I was pulling this together it was out of necessity for future project, as I am creating a group of seasonal recipes that can be made with ingredients found by local farms within a 100 mile radius, and from homegrown vegetables (or locally grown).
As I gathered everything up I was very happy with the closeness of the foods I had in hand. For example, the potatoes, onion, and the ground beef came from Engelbert Farms, the garlic from Bloodnick Farm, the carrots, peas, stock and herbs were our own. Instead of Parmesan I used Engelbert Farms Moochego (I love that name ha!), but have made it many times with Parmesan so I wrote it in for those not local to us. You could also use a local cheddar and it would be absolutely delicious. If you have a creamery near you the butter, cream and ghee would fall in line with the others and you’d have nearly a 100% local meal. That’s such a good thing…promise.
When we eat local by shopping at farm stands, stores and farmers markets nearly 90% of every dollar goes back into the pockets of the farmer. That means more money to re-invest in themselves and in the community. The other obvious benefits are the just picked freshness, the commitment to quality and the relationships made within the community. You’re just not going to reap the same rewards by picking up a bag of chopped kale at Wegmans.
Another bonus is that the bulk of this meal was organic or grown and produced with organic standards in mind, even the Worcestershire sauce is small batch made in Kentucky by Bourbon Barrel Foods. There was also a personal connection made to most every ingredient, and that makes cooking even more special.
In total, it was less than $10 to make, so about $1.65 per serving. This dispels the myth that eating this way is elitist or out of reach of most American families. With some thought and care you might see your grocery bill drop quite a bit when you make the switch to eating this way as well.
I’d call this comfort food…with benefits…
- For the Potatoes
- 2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed (about 6-8 medium potatoes)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup cream
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Meat Mixture
- 1 tablespoon Ghee (or other high temp oil)
- 1 pounds ground beef
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme
- For the Gravy
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup beef stock or broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 scallion chopped to finish
- Boil potatoes in generously salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them to the pan. Combine egg yolk, Parmesan and cream in a small bowl. Add into potatoes and mash until potatoes are smooth and creamy.
- While potatoes are boiling, preheat a large cast iron skillet (I used a lodge 12”) over medium high heat. Add ghee to hot pan, then add the onion and carrots. Cook for 6-8 minutes stirring frequently to keep them from over browning.
- Add the beef and garlic. Brown the meat crumbling it into the vegetables, about 5 minutes. Spoon off any excess grease.
- In a small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce and thyme. Thicken gravy 1 minute.
- Stir the peas into the meat and vegetables, and cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the gravy.
- Preheat broiler to high. Spoon the potatoes evenly over the meat mixture.
- Sprinkle the potatoes with the paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are nicely browned.
- Top the Shepherds Pie with the scallions and serve.
To make this gluten free, substitute Cassava flour and something like coconut aminos for the Worcestershire sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 736 Total Fat: 38g Saturated Fat: 19g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 15g Cholesterol: 206mg Sodium: 571mg Carbohydrates: 59g Fiber: 8g Sugar: 9g Protein: 40g