Veggieful Shepherd's Pie: Family Meal Ideas
Veggie-ful Shepherd's Pie
I hate having to cook dinner after work. I know I am not alone in this sentiment (I'm pretty sure I just heard a collective "amen, sister.") So any make-ahead-and-quickly-reheat or one-pan-meal ideas make me happy. Because of this, and despite the fact that it's still summer and I should be making only raw salads, I decided to make Shepherd's pie. And it was delicious. This dish was identified by my sister, who came to eat with us, as the "best Shepherd's pie" she's ever had. On top of that, all three kiddos ate it (3 year old, 1 year old, 18 month old) and it was loaded with veggies.
I found this recipe from Pink of Perfection and I modified it a bit. First off, I grabbed all the veggies left in my refrigerator in order to healthy the dish up a bit. So for me that was bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli, onion, and mushrooms. The quantities on these veggies is definitely open to wiggle room but I'll give you an estimation of what I used just so you have an idea. I really think the extra veggies helped elevate this recipe.
Veggie-ful Shepherd's Pie
Serves ~6 depending on appetites and if you serve it with sides
For the mashed potatoes:
3 cloves garlic (smashed but whole)
1.5 lbs yukon gold potatoes (skin on cut up into ~2 inch chunks)
2 tbsp butter
For the meat & veggie filling:
1-2 tbsp. butter (cut up into small chunks, and possibly a bit more as you cook)
1/2 a yellow onion (cut into thin slices)
~8 smallish crimini mushrooms
~3/4 of a bell pepper (I used several small colorful ones but still it was at most about 3/4 of a regular large bell pepper)
1/2 of a zucchini
1 medium head of broccoli
2 cloves garlic (diced)
1 lb of grassfed, sustainably raised, antibiotic free ground beef
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayanne
1 tbsp. flour
1.5 tsp. of tomato paste
1 cup stock (I used a homemade beef stock but the original recipe calls for chicken so you can use that or veggie I'm sure, if that's what you have)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I like Dubliner)
Put potatoes and garlic cloves in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low simmer and cook for an additional 25-30 minutes. When potatoes are soft, turn off heat, strain the water, remove garlic (or just leave it if you like things garlicy) and return to stove. Let rest for ~5 minutes then add butter, salt. Coarsely mash potatoes to desired consistency and set aside.
Heat some of the butter in skillet or heavy bottom saute pan then toss in onions. Cook on medium-low heat until carmelized. Remove from pan and put carmelized onion into a bowl and then saute mushrooms in same pan, adding more butter if needed. Once cooked, remove from pan, add to bowl of onions, then throw rest of veggies into pan (I cooked the zucchini, bell pepper, and broccoli all together. I am not 100% sure why I decided to cook the onion and mushrooms separately and then the rest of the veggies together, but for some reason I thought the broc/zuc/peppers would be fine in a bunch, and I think it worked out fine.) Again, add more butter if needed and cook for ~5 minutes with a lid on the pot to help steam the veggies. Once tender, remove from pan, add to bowl of mushrooms and onions. Keep pan on med-low heat.
Add diced garlic and saute for ~1 minute until fragrant then add ground beef, salt, oregano, cumin, and cayanne to pan. Cook until meat is no longer pink (I think ~8 minutes) then pour out excess fat from pan. Put pan back on stove, add flour to meat and mix in well. Then add tomato paste, mix in well and cook for another minute or 2. Finally, add stock and put the sauteed veggies from earlier back in pan. Simmer for ~3 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and then assemble Shepherd's pie: layer meat/veggie mixture in bottom of 9x13 baking dish then spoon mashed potatoes on top, using spoon to smooth them into a flat layer. once it looks lovely, sprinkle the cheddar on top and then pop it in the oven for ~20-30 minutes until golden brown on top. Or if you are not eating it until that evening or the next night, don't preheat oven :) let the assembled pie cool, cover with a lid or foil, and store in fridge until ready to cook.
I served this with a very simple green salad.
Also, the leftovers keep fabulously, taste even better the next day, and make perfect toddler lunches. (I believe I heard an "hallelujah!" that time.)