I am not a fan of shepherd's pie. To me it means leftover casserole or a compilation of bland ground beef with peas and instant mashed potatoes with a overly thick layer of cheese trying to rescue the dish. However, this one is good. Leftover can be used, but I make it from scratch on purpose in a large batch in the slow cooker. It also works well in a Dutch oven pot on a wood burning stove ... nice in the winter.
3 T Olive oil
5 lbs Lamb, beef chuck, or goat (stew meat or ground)
2 c Mushrooms, diced or quartered
2 c Onion, medium dice
1 T Garlic, minced
2 T Butter
5 T Flour
3/4 c Stout beer (Guinness works well)
1 c Beef broth
1 c Carrots, medium dice
1 c Peas, fresh or frozen
6 c Potatoes, coarse dice
1/4 c Cream
Salt & pepper, to taste
Herbs of your choice: thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay
3/4 c Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
In the Dutch oven or skillet over high heat in a preheated pan, coat with non-stick spray and brown the meat. Stew meat is better than ground, but both work fine. Brown and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Warm the olive oil, saute the mushrooms on high heat, and stir into the meat in the slow cooker. Turn slow cooker on high for now.
Reduce heat to medium with oil left in pan, melt butter, and saute the onions for several minutes and salt and pepper lightly. Add the garlic and saute a minute. Add the flour and cook for another minute so flour is a little toasty but the roux is still blond. If too dry, add a little more olive oil or butter. Add the fresh or dried herbs and the beer (slowly) whisking to combine. Stir in the broth.
Pour broth mixture over meat. Cook for two hours on high. Add the carrots. Cook for two hours on high. Add the peas leaving on high while making the mashed potatoes. Peel and cube the potatoes and simmer in water just enough to cover it. When soft, drain off all but about 1/4 cup water. Mash the potatoes with the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Spread over the top of the vegetables. (Adding by the spoonful and spreading together is easier than adding it all at once.) Sprinkle the top with cheese.
If your slow cooker liner is oven safe, broil the cheese until starting to brown. Or, take a kitchen torch and brown the cheese a little once it is melted. (If you don't have either, it's still good!)
Wife to Brandon, mother to Tess and Liam, farmer, entrepreneur, cook & baker, nurse, and accountant who loves to try new things, travel, and work toward greater self-reliance.