• Sahar Abdulaziz

You Need Shepard's Pie in Your Life

What's for dinner?

My character, Irwin Abernathy, from my published novel, UNLIKELY FRIENDS, lives alone, and he's not the sort to spend too much time in the kitchen. Hence, his pot pies. When pot pies aren't available, he'll eat pretty much whatever he can find, as long as it hasn’t turned into a science experiment.

Irwin prides himself on being a bit of a pot pie connoisseur, but don’t be impressed. He’s more of an aficionado of the frozen pot pie variety. However, what Irwin truly needs in his monotonous life, is a great recipe for Shepard’s Pie, also known as, The Poor Man’s Pie, because one can add or change out the vegetables at whim, depending on what’s available. The meat can also be eliminated to make this sumptuous wholesome meal totally vegetarian. Quite a versatile recipe for sure, and always lip-smacking delish!

Maybe Cornelia, Irwin's interfering, snooping next-door neighbor and best friend in the entire universe will be nice and hook this meal up for him in the next book. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Now, get ta cooking.

Easy, Yummy Shepard’s Pie



2 pounds russet potatoes

1/4 cup half-and-half

2 ounces unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Meat filling:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 carrots, peeled and diced small

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds ground beef or lamb

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

1/2 cup frozen peas

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Peel the potatoes Cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease heat to a simmer and cook until tender. You’ll know when they are done when they easily crush with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a saucepan and warm [do not boil it!]. Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes, add the half and half [you can use milk or evaporated milk if you don’t have the half and half], butter, salt and pepper. Mash until smooth, but don’t smash it until it feels like glue. No, no, no! Yuck.

3. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the meat filling. Place the vegetable oil into a sauté pan. Set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and sauté approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the meat, salt and pepper and cook until browned, approximately 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat. Cook for another minute or so. Then add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

4. Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture. Spread evenly into a long glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, cover the entire top. You may want to start around the edges to make a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling over. Once done, smooth with a spatula or back of a tablespoon. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack. Wait 10-15 minutes before serving.

5. Goes great with a salad and fresh rolls. Enjoy!

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