A short walk from Union Station here in DC is a fantastic Irish Pub, The Dubliner. That is where I got hooked on Shepherd's Pie, although theirs is technically a Cottage Pie, very much like mine. And while I certainly can't call mine authentic, I definitely call it yummy.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 pounds beef, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is lightly browned.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the whiskey. Carefully return to the heat and stir. Cook for about five minutes, until the alcohol fumes stop coming from the pan.
3. Make a slurry with the flour and about a 1/2 cup of the broth. Add to the pan, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for at least 30 minutes.
4. Stir the cream into the meat mixture and pour into an ungreased 13x9 pan.
Cover with the mashed potatoes and bake for 15 minutes.
- You could easily omit the whiskey if it's not your thing.
- Lamb can be substituted for the beef for a Shepherd's Pie.
- You can add carrots and peas (or really just about any vegetable) to the meat mix, just be careful not to overcook them.
- This is a wonderful way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. If you want to make them, this is how I do it: I boil peeled potatoes (about 7 medium Russets, for this recipe) cut into about 3-inch cubes until they're tender enough to be pierced by a fork easily. I then drain them very carefully (I splashed boiling water on my hand about a week ago, and trust me, it is no fun) and run them through my potato ricer, then mix them with a stick - yes, a whole stick - of butter and enough cream or milk to get them nice and creamy.