Today was the last day of the semester, and for that I was grateful. As I’ve mentioned before, this semester has been particularly trying, and I am just thankful to have made it to the end! I have the next two weeks off on holiday, during which I plan to rest, relax, and do a fair bit of cooking. I started this evening with our dinner–we’d been eating out all week long as the end of the semester usually is so busy that I don’t have much time to cook, so we resort to going out. This week we also had a few social engagements that involved dinner, so eating at home happened very rarely this week at dinnertime.
Sometimes you just want a meal that soothes and comforts. And sometimes you just want something that is easy and quick to fix that doesn’t require a terrible lot of work. This dinner is both. We’d been out earlier in the week to one of our neighborhood favorite joints, the Allen Wickers. It’s a great pub/restaurant that we frequent, and the food there is quite good and includes a few British pub favorites such as fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Their version is ground beef with mixed vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes and a bit of cheese. There isn’t a gravy or sauce, so while it is good, there isn’t anything that really holds it together. I decided I’d make a remixed version of their recipe for dinner tonight, with a few modifications to accommodate for SB’s onion allergy.
Now I’d made shepherd’s pie before, but it had never turned out anywhere near as good as this one did. As SB said while he ate, “This is off the chain.”
Here’s how I did it. You will need:
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 package steamable frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 package Alexia Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes (about 3 cups)*
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- salt to taste
*you can always make your own mashed potatoes; I used these because they were in my freezer and cut the prep and cook time significantly. Additionally, this particular brand of steamable mashed potatoes is really good and tastes homemade–SB couldn’t tell the difference!
In a Dutch oven, brown the ground sirloin. While the meat is cooking, steam cook the mixed vegetables according to package directions (about 5 minutes). Drain the fat from the meat and add in the garlic. Carefully open the package of cooked mixed vegetables, and add them to the pan, stirring them in with the meat to combine. While you are cooking the vegetables with the meat, cook the mashed potatoes according to package directions (about 10 minutes). Add the dried spices to the meat-vegetable mixture and cook for about 5-6 minutes to allow the spices to flavor the mixture. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
After this has cooked, sprinkle the flour evenly over the mixture to lightly coat it and stir to distribute the flour. Stir in the milk so that a gravy is created, and turn the heat off of the meat and vegetables. After the mashed potatoes have finished cooking, carefully remove them from the package using a rubber spatula and spread them over the surface of the meat and vegetables so that you create a mashed potato “crust.” Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Allow the pie to set for about 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe made 4 large servings, but would make 8 small servings if eaten with other vegetables or side items. We elected to eat it as a solo dish.