Shepherd’s Pie

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What you need: measuring spoons/cups, 2 large pots, 6 large oven proof ramekins or large casserole dish (about 3 quarts), large baking tray, veggie peeler, potato masher, cutting board, chef’s knife, paring knife

Serves: 6

  • 2 lbs yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 lb parsnips
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 8 oz carrots (finely chopped)
  • 8 oz frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbs gravy browning
  • 3 beef stock cubes
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

For the meat: Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add in the ground beef and cook thoroughly. Drain the juices from the meat and return to heat. Add in the finely chopped carrots and peas. Stir to combine. Dissolve the stock cubes with 2 cups boiling water in the Pyrex measuring jug. Add to the meat. Add additional water if necessary – until the meat is almost covered. Add the gravy browning to give the meat a nice rich color. Add a teaspoon of cold water to 2 tbs of corn starch and add to thicken. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the parsnip potato mash: Fill a large pot with water and add 2 tbs of salt. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Peel and chop the parsnips (smaller than the potatoes, as they will take longer to cook). Cook potatoes and parsnips until fork tender – about 20 minutes. Drain and return pot back to the burner and shake the pot around a little to “dry out” the potatoes and parsnips. Turn off the burner and add (4) 1 tbs. pats of butter, about 3/4 of a cup warmed whole milk, and lots of salt & pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy, making sure to pay special attention to the parsnips as they are a little harder to mash than the potatoes. Place the cooked meat in the individual ramekins (or casserole dish) and top with the parsnip potato mash. Make sure to “seal” the dish with the potatoes or the meat juices will bubble over. Place on a baking sheet Bake for 20 minutes. Top with cheese and broil till cheese is bubbling and potatoes are slightly browned.

To Serve:  Place individual ramekins on plates or scoop out a hearty serving from the casserole dish and serve immediately.

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