While pondering what on earth to make for dinner, I opened the fridge and saw a bowl full of leftover mashed potatoes. Shepherd’s Pie popped into my head and I started searching my many cookbooks for a recipe. My youngest daughter, a huge Harry Potter fan, suggested looking in her cookbook, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz. I found what I was looking for and actually had all of the ingredients in the house. Hon, dinner was served!
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon chili sauce (my addition to the recipe)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 stick (which = 4 Tablespoons) margarine or butter (I used margarine)
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer or half-and-half or milk (I used non-dairy creamer)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (Place a baking sheet on the lowest oven rack to catch drips if needed.)
2. In a large skillet or wide saucepan, brown the meat, breaking up clumps, until completely browned and crumbly. Drain fat off the meat and transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add the oil. Heat the oil and add the onions. Saute the onions over medium heat until they are golden brown. Add the garlic and saute a few seconds until fragrant. Return the meat to the skillet; stir to combine.
3. Sprinkle the flour over the meat mixture and stir it in. Slowly pour the chicken stock while stirring. Add the tomato paste, chili sauce, chopped carrots, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper; raise the heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until the filling is thick and bubbling and the carrots have softened, about 15 minutes.
4. Cover the potatoes with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes break apart when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the margarine (or butter), non-dairy creamer (or half-and-half or milk), and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and mash everything together with a potato masher (or transfer to a separate bowl and whip with an electric hand mixer).
5. Pour the meat mixture into a deep 9-inch baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top. You can make peaks and swirls with the back of a spoon or a crosshatch pattern with a fork. Bake the pie until it is bubbling around the edges and the potato crust turns a deeper yellow, about 45 minutes.
Vegetarian Option: Substitue non-meat “ground beef” and vegetable stock to make this a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.