When you think of a comfort food dish like Shepherd’s Pie, usually you think of it as cold weather fare. But when you have a nice heapin’ helpin of garlic scape mashed potatoes as leftovers and you also have a pound of local, organic ground beef thawed and ready to goin your fridge, the two just cry out in unison, “Shepherd’s Pie, please!” And with all the great early summer veggies out there to throw into the mix, if the day isnt too hot to turn on the oven, how can you resist?
Summer Shepherd’s Pie
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 lb organic ground beef
2-3 garlic scapes
2 whole green onions
2 small carrots, diced into pea-size chunks
1/3 cup peas
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onio powder
½ tsp paprika
2 Tblspn flour
2 Tblspn tomato paste
¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp balsalmic vinegar (optional)
1 cup organic beef broth
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. While the oven is warming, brown your pound of meat over medium-high heat in a large frying pan.
3. While meat is browning, put mushrooms, onions, and garlic scapes in your food processor or dice very fine (note: you can also slice your mushrooms thick and enjoy their taste and texture in the meal, but my husband doesnt like mushrooms so I ‘sneak’ them in this way).
4. When meat is browned but not overly done, remove from pan and set aside. Return pan to medium heat, melt your tsp of butter and saute your mushroom, onion, and scape mixture until soft and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.
5. Add your peas and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for three minutes.
6. Return browned meat to the pan, and add all of the dry seasonings. Stir very well, and cook for three minutes.
7. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, and stir well. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the contents of the pan and stir very well.
8. Add your up of broth, bring contents just to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on low heat. Simmer 15 minutes, allowing the meat to tenderize and the sauce to reduce.
9. While the sauce is reducing, warm your left over mashed potatoes in a large saucepan with just a dash of milk to make them spreadable but not liquidy.
10. After 15 minutes, place the meat mixture into a medium casserole dish. Scoop or, if you are really fancy, pipe warmed mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with paprika and melted butter if you wish and bake for 30 minutes.
11. Note: I have yet to make the “perfect” shepherd’s pie where the sauce did not bubble up over the mashed potatoes at some point. I find if I put in any less liquid than the amount listed above, the mixture gets dried out and isn’t tender and tasty. But we don’t mind, because it still tastes great!
This meal takes a little effort, but it is well-worth it, friends. Serve this with some crusty bread and a side salad, or a dish of fresh, local strawberries from your loft box and you have a fabulous summer meal. Bon Apetite!
-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife
photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller