Sheepless Shepherd’s Pie

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Sheepless Shepherd’s PieShepherd’s pie is beloved as a pub staple across the UK. The silky, savory, succulent filling foiled by the creamy, luscious, fluffy topping. There are very few dishes that simultaneously fulfill the mind, belly, and soul in such a charming way. That is … until you visit your darned doctor who tells you to lay off the red meat for a while. If it has no sheep, can I still call it shepherd’s pie, Doctor? I kid! This dish can stand up to the baaaa-d version, any day of the week.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

TOPPING:
  • 3 -4 (about 2 lb) russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 qt water
  • 1 Tbsp plus ½ tsp salt, divided
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup heavy cream or milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
FILLING:
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • medium carrots, peeled, cut into ½ inch rounds
  • 20 oz mixed mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, button, etc.), stemmed
  • and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¾ cup parsley, chopped, divided
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ cup frozen peas
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. To prepare the filling, place a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and carrots and sauté 4–5 minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Add mushrooms, continuing to sauté for another 8-10 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and have released most of their moisture.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on top of this mixture, stir it in and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, ½ cup of the parsley, and pepper, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peas, broth, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until the broth has thickened to the consistency of gravy. Remove the skillet from the heat, and transfer this mixture into a baking dish, and let it cool while you prepare the topping.
  4. To prepare the topping, in a medium or large pot, add the potatoes and water to cover. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt to the water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn heat down to keep pot at a simmer. Cook until you can easily pierce a potato chunk with a knife, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Drain potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl. Use either a potato masher or ricer to crush potatoes into an even consistency. Stir butter and cream or milk into potatoes. When the potatoes have cooled a bit, about 10 minutes, whisk in the eggs and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
  6. Using a spatula, evenly spread the mashed potato topping on top of mixture in the baking dish. Be sure that the topping is spread to edges of the baking dish and covers the filling completely. Place the baking dish in the middle rack of the oven. In the rack beneath the baking dish, place an empty baking sheet to catch any filling that might sneak by and overflow during baking. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mashed potatoes begin to brown.
  7. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ¼ cup of parsley before serving in bowls.
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