Monster Cookies aren’t made with real monsters.

Rainbow Sorbet doesn’t actually contain any rainbows.

Following this logic it’s safe to assume that Shepherds Pie is not made using honest to goodness Shepherds… right?

I don’t know.  Maybe some versions do. Mine certainly does not.  And neither does Alton Brown’s recipe. I know this because I chose his to use as a guide for mine.

Here is how our Shepherd’s Pies vary –

–  Alton encourages you to use russet potatoes and to peel them.  We used red skinned new potatoes.  Why?  Because we’ve been told that red skinned new potatoes are healthier for you, but only when you leave the skins on.

–  Alton uses half-n-half. Obviously we went with a  less delicious  healthier option.

–  We subbed olive oil for canola oil simply because it’s what I keep in my cabinet.

–  Alton stays true to the roots of the dish and uses lamb whereas I am a self-proclaimed “cuddle-terrian”. Meaning: I will not cook and would prefer not to eat anything that I would cuddle with, thus eliminating sweet and adorable nursery-rhyme lambs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Both Jeff and I went to town on this Shepherd’s Pie tonight. It is SO-O-O-O-O delicious.  Jeff’s final thought on our dinner was, and I quote, “This is GOOD!  It’s hearty and delicious and warms you up from the inside. It makes me want to go outside and SPLIT WOOD!”.

(p.s. Know that the logic doesn’t always follow. Yes, grasshopper pie isn’t made with real grasshoppers. But, if you go somewhere funky and fun, like Extra Virgin in Kansas City, the Crispy Pig Ear Salad does actually contain pig ears… crispy ones.  And their Duck Tongue Tacos?  Yep. You guessed it.)


Adapted from Alton’s Brown’s version (


For the potatoes:

  • 1 1/2 pounds red skin new potatoes
  • 1/4 c milk (you pick what percent of deliciousness you want it to be – just no chocolate, please)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen English peas


  1. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  4. Add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish (or a beautiful casserole – whatever makes you happy). Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: