I know that by now, most people are in spring-like weather and looking towards grilling and lighter meals. We are experiencing warmer temperatures, but it's hard to enjoy when there is still two feet of snow on the ground. And this weekend is barely above freezing. So, for one last sort of hurrah, I decided to make shepherd's pie. This is a favorite of ours. Although, in the beginning, the combination always sounded weird to me. I mean really, hamburger and mashed potatoes? That is, until I tried Kyra's recipe. I was instantly converted.
This dish is hearty, filling and a totally manly-meat dish. What am I talking about, my daughter and I totally devour this. I am usually not a big ketchup fan (really, who am I!?), but I find that it adds a lot of flavor to the hamburger. The mashed potatoes are creamy, buttery good-ness. I mean really, you just can't go wrong with this meal.
For the potatoes
3 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed
4 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
about a 1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
For the vegetables
1/4 cup olive or grapeseed oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
For the hamburger
2 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 cups ketchup
To make the mashed potatoes, slice thinly and place in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently until tender when poked with a fork. Drain completely and place back into the pot. Mash with a potato masher until mostly smooth. Fold in the melted butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder and milk until incorporated and creamy, adding more milk if necessary. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF, and grease a 9x13 inch pan. Set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, cook the vegetables. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery, salt, paprika, pepper, basil and bay leaf. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Using the same saucepan, cook the hamburger.
Over medium heat, stir the ground beef, salt, cayenne pepper and ground pepper until the meat is lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red wine. Cook until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, another 10-15 minutes. Then stir in the Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and ketchup. Turn the heat down to low and cook the meat until a nice glaze has formed, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To assemble the pie, remove the bay leaf from the hamburger and discard, then spread over the bottom of the prepared pan. Then, remove the bay leaf from the vegetable mixture and discard. Spoon the vegetables evenly over the hamburger. Spoon dollops of the mashed potatoes over the vegetable mixture. Then, spread with a rubber spatula until the whole pan is covered evenly. Sprinkle the 1/2 teaspoon paprika and parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
Place in the preheated oven, uncovered, and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325ºF, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the mashed potatoes are golden. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Source: lightly adapted from Cooking in the Moment, by Kyra Alex