I love shepherd's pie! Here are 2 recipes - a traditional Irish recipe and a more contemporary one. I have played around with the latter recipe for years. Traditionally, shepherd's pie is made with leftover meat (beef or lamb), gravy, tomato puree, with no veggies and garlic butter topping the mashed potatoes instead of cheese. But I don't think there's anything wrong with tweaking recipes - in fact, experimenting is the best part of cooking, right?
IRISH SHEPHERD'S PIE
1 lb minced cooked beef
1 T butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 T flour
1 2/3 cups stock and leftover gravy
1 t tomato puree
1 T chopped parsley
1 t thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 T. melted garlic butter
Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onion. Cook over a slow heat for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the flour and cook until brown. Pour in the stock, and bring to a boil. Add the tomato puree, chopped parsley, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the meat to the sauce and bring to a boil. Put in a pie dish, cover with the mashed potatoes and score the top with a fork. Drizzle the garlic butter over the potatoes. Reheat in a moderate oven (350) for about 30 minutes.
SHEPHERD'S PIE ALA GRAMMUH
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 c. diced onion (optional)
1 can tomato soup
1/2 can water
1 t. Worcestershire sauce (you can substitute 1 beef bouillon cube-either are optional)
1/4 t. thyme
1/2 t. salt
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup green beans, diced (I like fresh but canned is fine)
4 or 5 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup grated cheese (Irish cheddar or Old Dubliner is the best!)
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onions using 1 T. olive oil (I also add a little garlic-infused olive oil). Add the carrots and green beans and continue cooking until the veggies are fork-tender.
Add soup, water, and spices. Cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until flavors have had a chance to blend.
Pour beef mixture into a deep baking dish and cover the top with mashed potatoes. Finish it off with the grated cheese and bake uncovered in 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.