Food that Comforts: Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Especially when it’s cool or rainy outside, there’s nothing that warms the body better than shepherd’s pie– comfort food at its best. Also called cottage pie, this dish contains a meat  and vegetable base with mashed potatoes on top. It’s quick to prepare and there’s enough leftover for lunch the next day!

My recipe is based on Rachel Ray’s 30-minute meal version; I add a bit more gravy, more vegetables and prepare a healthier version of the mashed potatoes: rather than using cream and butter, I use olive oil and plain yogurt. Not only is this less fat than the original recipe, but it consists of healthier fats, too.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 1 package ground beef (turkey or lamb)
  • 2 pounds potatoes (yukon gold)
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • Peas
  • Beef broth

Pantry Items

  • Olive oil
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Worcestershire sauce

1. Prepare the potatoes.

  • 2 pounds of potatoes, chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Chop the potatoes (I like using yukon gold) into 1/8 cup sized nuggets. Boil 15 minutes and drain. Mash the potatoes with a masher and add the olive oil and yogurt. If potatoes aren’t as creamy as you are accustomed, that’s ok! (Note: If you prefer butter and sour cream in  your mashed potatoes, feel free to use these ingredients instead.)

2. Prepare meat mixture.

  • 1 1/3 pound ground beef (lamb or turkey)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped

Cook the beef until it’s about 80% done. Drain the grease. Add the vegetables and cook another 3-5 minutes, until vegetables soften.

3. Prepare the gravy.

  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 3-4 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Melt the butter and add flour. Whisk for about 2-3 minutes until it browns a bit. Add the broth and worcestershire sauce and boil about 3 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add to beef mixture, along with peas.

4. Assemble.

Pour the meat/gravy mixture on teh bottom of a pan and top with mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and paprika.

5. Cook.

Cook casserole for about 15 minutes @ 350 degrees. Brown under broiler just before serving. We like ours alongside a tossed salad and glass of white wine.

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Melinda Hinson