Keith Richards loves Shepherd’s Pie and so do I. What’s more, I consider this recipe – perfected over many years – to be the ultimate version.
My simple but superb rendition is made from scratch. However, I often make Shepherd’s Pie from food languishing in my fridge – meat like leftover roast beef, cooked pork or chicken and occasionally lamb. Also, sad and sundry vegetables, both cooked and raw.
My tricks are the delicious onion gravy poured over the ground meat, using frozen kale and corn (the former adds a bitter bite; the latter crunchy sweetness), the luscious, silky, vibrant orange sweet potato in the spud layer and a topping of glorious, crisp shredded cheese.
Please feel free to vary this according to whim, taste and the contents of your fridge. This recipe makes a lot. It is great as a take-to-work lunch and freezes well. Everybody likes it – I guarantee. You can freeze it and/or halve the recipe. As usual, yer welcome! (Note: You can make the mashed potatoes first if desired.)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil (or a combo of oil and butter)
- 2 lb/1 kilo ground beef
- 1½ tsp salt, or to taste
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 large onions, halved, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped
- 1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef or chicken stock (or half stock, half dry red wine)
- Salt to taste
- 3 cups frozen chopped kale
- 3 cups frozen corn kernels
- 3 or 4 large potatoes, peeled, sliced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled, sliced
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tbsp butter
- Salt to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in large skillet. Add ground beef, salt and thyme. Cook until browned, 5 to 8 minutes, breaking up with large fork or potato masher. Transfer with slotted spoon to 9 x 13-inch ovenproof baking dish in even layer.
Reduce heat under skillet to medium. Add remaining oil and onions. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt. Whisk in stock; cook, whisking, until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt, if necessary. Pour mixture over beef in ovenproof dish. Add kale in even layer, then corn kernels.
Cook potatoes and sweet potato in boiling, salted water until soft. Drain. Add milk, butter and salt. Mash by hand with potato masher. Spread over vegetable layer in ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake in preheated 350F oven about 40 minutes or until heated through and cheese melted. Place under broiler to brown, if desired, for a few minutes.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.