Shepherd’s Pie a Party Pleaser

I made this for a gathering of over 20 people today, my sister in-law’s son Cooper turned one. The recipe was tripled for the party and really made for an easy meal for a large gathering. It also reminded me of how simple Shepherd’s Pie is to make. The meal takes about an hour to prep and cook, not bad and it looks like a lot more time went into it. The flavor of this recipe is very traditional in that there is nothing odd or gourmet about it; it’s just a simple, flavorful recipe.

Cheddar-Topped Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 8

2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4),
peeled and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise,
quartered and thinly sliced
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. Set beef filling aside.

3. Drain potatoes; return to pain. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula. Using a fork, make decorative peaks; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes.) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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  • Michelle

    Made this tonight for a potluck and it was super easy to serve a bunch of people – Good call!