Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie - Perfect for St. Patrick's Day

This St. Patrick's Day I wanted to make something honoring the Irish, but I did not want to do corned beef and cabbage (I just didn't have that sort of time!)  So I turned to the trusted Martha Stewart for some inspiration and found this cheddar-topped shepherd's pie.  The recipe did not seem too difficult for an after work meal.

The Necessities..

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced
  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)
Within the first step I almost screwed this up!  The recipe calls for you to put the potatoes in a large saucepan with some salted water, but I neglected to read the words "thinly sliced" in the ingredients list.  Luckily Nick came in the kitchen and saw the four whole potatoes in the water, so we pulled them out and sliced them up so that we were able to eat dinner sometime during St. Patrick's Day 2011!

Sliced Potatoes

I let the potatoes boil for about 20 minutes, drained the water and then allowed them to cook a bit more (about a minute) so that all the water evaporated.  Once removed from the heat I added the cream (but in this case chose to use 2% milk) and the cheese, mashing it all up until the potatoes were almost creamy.

Almost creamy
I like my potatoes with a bit of lumps so I did not fully mash them. 

For the actual Shepherd's pie filling, I first took the veggies and the spices...

Some good veggies
and sliced them up into nice bite-sized pieces.

Sliced veggies...
I added the veggies and the thyme to the dutch oven that had been heating up with oil and let them cook for about 10 minutes until tender.  I added the flour and tomato paste, stirred it all up and let it cook for another minute.

Beef, Flour, Tomato Paste
I added the beef to the dutch oven and broke it apart, stirring occasionally until the beef was just no longer pink (about 7 minutes).  Finally, I added the water and brought it all to a boil and let it all simmer for a minute.

Almost done...
Once it was all cooked, I poured the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan. 

Looking for toppings...
I then took the potatoes and topped off the beef mixture, smoothing it out until the entire dish was covered, and then finished it off with the rest of the grated cheddar.

To the oven!
This dish is supposed to cook for about 20 minutes or until the top has browned up a bit in a 450 degree oven.  However, after about 10 minutes I smelled smoke in the over - the oil from the beef was bubbling out and onto the heating coils, which was awesome. 

Almost done...
So while the top was not browned, rather than smoking us out, we just figured it was done and served it then!

Some Shepherd's Pie
This was a yummy dish that was pretty simple to make.  All the parts tasted great together, though we did think it needed some extra salt.  The Cheddar potatoes were delicious - I would actually make these as a side for some other meal.

For an Irish dessert, Martha came through again with a Stout and Ice Cream Float.

The Components
Nothing too fancy - this is your basic root beer float made with Guinness instead.  What's not to like?!

The one and only step to make this dessert

Dessert is served!
This was delicious - the ice cream melted into the Guinness and was so creamy and yummy without being too sweet.  I would definitely make this again - I mean, it was so difficult!

Overall, a good Irish dinner :)


  1. Ultimate comfort food. Looks delicious!!

  2. fun dinner to celebrate the holiday. I love Guinness floats!

  3. looks delish! perfect for st. patty's indeed!


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