Monday, November 12, 2012

Shepherd's (Sheppard's) Pie

I always had a romantic vision of this dish: probably after watching "Heidi" when I was young. I envisioned shepherds sitting it their little huts eating this dish after a long, hard stint on the hills. Maybe that's not so far-fetched, but lately I have been seeing it written as "Sheppard's Pie," not "Shepherd's Pie." I think I like my lonely shepherd version more :)

Shepherd's Pie

  • 4 oz green beans, chopped in 1 inch pieces
  • 2 each yellow corn cobs (cut corn from the cobs) or use 1 can corn
  • 4 each Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef or chicken (I prefer beef)
  • 1 c turkey gravy (the original recipe called for beef gravy)
  • 1/4 c water
  • 4 oz (1/2 an 8-oz pkg) Neufchatel or soft cream cheese)
  • 1 c milk, divided
  • 4 -5 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed,boiled and drained
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Blanch green beans and cut corn in salted boiling water. Drain and set aside
  2. Brown meat with garlic and onion. Pour off the excess fat. Stir in gravy, vegetables and water; simmer for 5 minutes or heated through, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Microwave cream cheese and 1/4 c milk in medium microwavable bowl on HIGH for 30 seconds; beat with whisk until blended.
  4. Mash potatoes with cream cheese mixture to make a creamy texture (not runny)
  5. Spoon meat mixture into bottom of a large, greased casserole (I used "Pam"). Top with mashed potato mixture, spreading to edge of casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan, swirling it gently into the potato mixture to give it a bit of texture and taste. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 min. It gives the potatoes a nice golden edge and combines the flavors. 
  7. Let sit for 10 minutes before spooning out of the dish. Serve with a green salad or your choice of side dish. It's literally a meal in a casserole.

Note from The Little Cook: The original recipe called for potato flakes. I prefer the 'real deal' to commercial. It also had the potatoes spooned on top of the meat combination to look like little ghosts, with pea eyes. Cute, but with just the 2 of us, we prefer it as a casserole. I have discovered that Neufchatel is much creamier for dishes such as this and tastes every bit as good with half the calories. I actually enjoyed cutting the corn from the cob, but some folks prefer canned or frozen corn. Whatever suits you best, or even better, whatever you have in the house to save you a bit of cash! Also, I think beef gravy would be very strong. I deliberately used turkey gravy (commercial) and we preferred the taste.

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