Shepherd’s pie was my most favourite thing ever to eat when I was a kid. I know I say a lot of things are my favourite ever, but Shepherd’s pie really was. I first tasted shepherd’s pie at the Heritage Festival in Edmonton, where I grew up. The Heritage Festival was an outdoor showcase of multiculturalism with performances, crafts and most importantly, food.
The food at the Heritage Festival would showcase specialties from all over the world. My mom would buy food tickets and my brother and I would get to pick out whatever we wanted. I wasn’t much of an eater then and I never wanted to to eat anything so my mom picked out the shepherd’s pie. Being the ever-so picky eater I didn’t want to even touch it, but my mom and brother looked like they were enjoying it so much that I ventured a taste. After that my mom had to buy me another pie, I liked it that much.
Shepherd’s pie won me over so much that I begged my mom again and again to make it for me, so she did. She made it so much that she was known for her shepherd’s pie around the neighbourhood. She even brought one, fancied up with piped potato rosettes, to our elementary school potluck.
Traditional shepherd’s pie is made from lamb, but my mom isn’t fond of lamb, and my parents don’t eat beef so growing up, home-style shepherd’s pie was made with ground pork. My mom’s shepherd’s pie is pretty simple: ground pork, diced onions and corn topped with mashed potatoes. When she had the time she’d make the mashed potatoes from scratch, but as we grew older and instant mashed potatoes became more common, she switched to those. I love home made mashed potatoes and I hate instant, so I always make my own.
Shepherd’s pie is excellent sick people food. You don’t have to chew it much so it goes down easy. I love the taste of savoury meat, crisp, sweet corn and smooth butter creamy mashed potatoes.
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 11 oz can of corn nibblets
3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chicken stock divided into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
3 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of oil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat your oven to 400˚F.
Put the peeled and chopped potatoes in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and then turn the heat down medium so the water is at a simmer. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil over medium high heat in a pot or sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add the diced onions and brown. When the onions are brown, remove from the pan and reserve.
In the same pan, cook the ground beef over high heat until the meat is no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked onions and corn. Turn the heat down to medium and pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock into the pan and mix well. Let the chicken stock reduce and thicken up, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When done, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the meat mixture to a oven-safe casserole dish.
When your potatoes are tender, drain and mash with 2 tablespoons of butter. When the potatoes are no longer lumpy, stir in the 1 cup of chicken stock. Season the potatoes to taste.
Top the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes. Cut the last tablespoon of butter up into tiny pieces and dot the potatoes with it. Put the pie in the oven and bake until it has a delicious golden brown potato crust, about 30 minutes. You may want to broil the pie for the last 5 minutes if you really like potato crust.
Remove from the oven, let the pie rest for at least 10 minutes and enjoy!
Note: Feel free to make your mashed potatoes your favourite way or with cream or milk; I just used chicken stock because when I’m sick, dairy irritates my throat.