Last Minute Simple Shepard's Pie

I've been cooking mostly Japanese food lately since I came back from Japan a few weeks ago.  My friend came over in the morning yesterday and told me it was St. Patrick's Day.  We are not Irish and I guess I didn't really see anything online about it.  

Anyway, Happy St. Patrick's Day yesterday!  We happened to have bought tons of beef from a local organic farmer a couple weeks ago for the first time.  And we have about 100 pounds of all kinds of meat in our freezer.  

It was last minute but I used a pack of ground beef to try this awesome meat that I haven't eaten yet  and make a simple shepherd's pie.  I love shepherd's pie.  It's very easy to make and everyone loves it.  The extra bonus is that you can make balls out of the left overs, coat them with some panko and fry them to make delicious potato croquettes. Win, win.

The farmer's meat was lean and clean and it was the best tasting shepherd's pie I've ever made.  I also made it lighter by not using butter and cream. I say you don't need to buy expensive organic meat from grocery stores.  Do some online research and buy grass-fed clean organic beef for one-third of the price.  It's so worth it.  I took me almost no effort and we now have the best quality beef to last a year and saved lots of money.  

Recipe:  10 servings

3 large russet potatoes
1 cup of low fat milk
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 large or 2 medium portabello mushrooms chopped
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 bag of frozen peas
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

To make the mashed potatoes, bring water to boil in a large pan and add a teaspoon of salt.  Chop peeled potatoes in smaller pieces and cook until they are boiled.  Drain the water and start mashing potatoes.  Add cream, chicken broth, sour cream and keep mashing and stirring.  When it's smooth, add salt, pepper, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and mix it well.  Leave it aside.

Heat a large frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Sauté chopped garlic and onions. Add ground beef and sauté more.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

Add salt, pepper, ground cumin, paprika to adjust the taste and sauté until the beef is cooked.  

Bring water to a boil in a medium pan, turn the heat off and add frozen peas.  Let them sit in hot water for a couple of minutes.  Drain the water using a strainer.  

In a medium baking dish, spread beef mixture first, then peas and top it with mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese and bake  for 15 minutes until the top is nice and golden. 


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