By Linda Gassenheimer
Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional pub dish. Some claim it as British, others as Irish. In either case, it’s a quick dish to enjoy any night of the week. It’s made with cubes of preferably lamb but also beef, veal or pork, with vegetables and a tomato-based sauce. Top it with mashed potatoes and cheese.
This one-dish meal usually cooks slowly in the oven. I’ve shortened the time by sauteing the meat and vegetables in a skillet, topping it with mashed potatoes and placing it under the broiler. It’s very easy to make and freezes well. If you have time, double the recipe and save half for another quick meal.
If you use lamb for this recipe, opt for cubes cut from the leg. Lamb stew meat can be used; remove as much fat as possible before cooking and cook the dish five minutes longer. Leftover roast lamb is OK, too; add it later in the preparation as noted below.
¾ lb. Idaho or russet potatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen diced/chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup fat free, low-sodium chicken broth, divided use
¾ lb. kabob lamb, fat removed and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 oz.)
Preheat broiler. Wash potatoes, do not peel, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover. Cover with a lid, cook on high 15 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Drain and mash with a potato ricer, sieve or in a food processor. Mix with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
While potatoes cook, make filling. Heat a nonstick, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and 1 tablespoon chicken broth. Saute until onions are soft and golden, 5 minutes. Add more chicken broth if pan becomes too dry. Add the lamb and garlic. Saute 5 minutes.
Sprinkle flour on top and add the remaining chicken broth, tomato paste and rosemary. (If you are using leftover meat, add it at this point.) Simmer 5 minutes until sauce thickens. Add Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Taste for seasoning, adding more Worcestershire if needed.
Spread mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with cheese. Place under broiler 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 2 servings.