Freezing And Make Ahead Instructions
The good news here is that Shepherd’s Pie keeps and freezes really well. The recipe as written makes enough for a medium sized family, serving roughly 4-6 portions. This recipe can be doubled if you wish to make enough for now and some for later.
To do so, you can either increase the size of the pan it is made in, or make it in two. This recipe was developed to be made inside of a medium cast iron skillet, about 8-10″ inches. To double the portions is can be made in a 12″ cast iron skillet.
Alternatively, you can assemble and bake it in an oven safe dish. For a single batch, bake in an 8″ baking dish or for a double batch bake in a 9″ x 13″ dish.
If you want to freeze this meal, I recommend assembling and baking it in a disposable aluminum foil container. Let the casserole cool completely before freezing. Wrap well with one tight layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil.
The Best Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies
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History Of Shepherds Pie
Aside from its deep Irish roots, we dont know much about shepherds pies exact origins.
Legend has it that the dish was invented by frugal housewives sometime in the 18th- or 19th-centuries.
The shepherds pie is supposedly a product of that frugality: Instead of wastefully throwing food in the trash, the penny-pinching cooks threw all their leftovers into one dish and called it a day.
Heres what we do know for sure:
Cottage pie was actually a thing before its lamb-filled counterpart.
It came about around the same time potatoes, which were affordable for peasants who often lived in cottages, were introduced to the U.K. The dish became a staple in peasant households, and thats how it got its name.
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The History Of Shepherds Pie
The problem is, there isnt much to the historyat least not in a straightforward way. There doesnt seem to be a singular person, event, place, or circumstance that gave the world shepherds pie. Instead, there are bits and pieces of history that, together, and once interpreted, allow the emergence of shepherds pie to make sense. So, heres a brief rundown of those facts:
- The Norman invasion of Ireland began in the 13th century, and sparked a tumultuous union between Ireland and England that would last for about 800 years .
- In the late 15th century, England had officially taken control of Ireland, and brought the island into the United Kingdom.
- As an arm of the United Kingdom, Protestantism became the new official religion, despite Ireland being majority Catholic.
- The British and Protestant Irish converts became ruling landowners, protected by the government. Irish Catholics became peasant land workers, sanctioned by the government. As a result, they were generally impoverished, living in humble homes called cottages.
- In 1589, Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the potato to Ireland, and over time, the potato gained acceptance in Ireland as an edible, affordable piece of produce, particularly for the poor.
- The British loved beef, and sparked an increase in beef production in Ireland. The Irish were never big beef eaters. Regardless, they couldnt really afford it while Ireland was under British control.
Recipe: Ground Beef Shepherds Pie
Tips To Save You Time
This recipe takes a little more time than the average weeknight meal, but its so worth it. Here are a few tips to save you some time and energy.
- Use a mixture of butter and flour to thicken the sauce: Instead of a roux , I mix the flour and butter in a bowl and whisk it into the sauce to save on cooking time. This is known as beurre manié in French cuisine. Also, I always think its easier to clean a small bowl than a pot!
- Choose large potatoes: Im not a fan of peeling potatoes, but the larger they are, the fewer there are to peel! And the less time I need to spend doing it. If you dont mind the skins, you could skip the peeling altogether, but thats an aesthetic choice. It doesnt affect the overall taste, but perhaps the potatoes wont be quite so melt-in-your-mouth creamy.
- Buy grated cheese: Usually, I like to grate my own cheese because packaged cheese often has added cellulose to keep the shreds from clumping. That said, there are brands that have only a few additives, and I find skipping this one step just moves things along faster.
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What’s The Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie And Cottage Pie
Shepherd’s pie was originally called cottage pie back in the 18th century in Ireland and the United Kingdom as a way to describe a dish made by frugal cottage dwellers to use up leftovers. These days, the two terms are often used interchangeably, but in general, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef. The mashed potato topper could be replaced with mashed turnips or other root vegetables, or even with a pastry crust .
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What To Serve With Shepherd’s Pie
If you’ve loaded up your pie with peas and carrots and parsnips, it may well serve as a one-pot meal. Should you want additional veggies on the side,The Guardiansuggests these same peas and carrots and parsnips, or perhaps leeks, shallots, cabbage, or kale. Or even baked beans, if you really want a taste of comfort food, British-style.
As to the proper drink? Why, tea, of course, although an Irish beer such as the dark, hearty Guinness would also work. Or you could do as Member of Parliament-turned-ex-con and novelist Jeffrey Archer apparently did, and pair the finest French champagne with your shepherd’s pie.
Dress it up and accompany it however you like, though, shepherd’s pie will never forget its working class roots, and will stick to your ribs so you can get on with the backbreaking work that built an Empire .
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What Is Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherds pie recipes were first developed in England in the mid-19th century. Recipes differ from traditional meat pies because they do not involve meat enclosed in a pastry crust. Instead, shepherds pie consists of a layer of ground meat and a few vegetables topped with a creamy layer of mashed potatoes. The dish is baked until the top of the potatoes forms a golden-brown crust.
The first shepherds pie recipes included ground lamb, a bit of onion, and perhaps some peas and carrots. The lamb produced some gravy as it was cooking. The result was almost an upside down version of potatoes with gravy. Shepherds pie had more substance than simple mashed potatoes, though, because of the quantity of meat in the recipe.
Other countries soon adopted shepherds pie, and produced two variants. Instead of ground lamb, some recipes substituted ground beef. Though traditionally this variant is called cottage pie, most in the US recognize it as shepherds pie. Less familiar in the US is the use of ground fish, which makes a dish correctly termed fishermans pie.
Easy Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
A shepherds pie is often a catch-all for leftovers, topped with mashed potatoes and baked in a casserole. This vegetarian version omits the ground lamb or beef and replaces it with an array of mushrooms, carrots, celery, pearl onions, green beans, and peas, all baked in a creamy sauce and topped with cheesy mashed potatoes.
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What Is The Difference Between Shepherds Pie And Cottage Pie
Originally, a pie made with any kind of meat and mashed potato was called a cottage pie. In modern British English, the dish is usually called cottage pie if it is made with beef. If it is made with lamb, it is usually called shepherds pie . Both have mashed potatoes on top, and occasionally on the bottom as well.
The name cottage was applied to this kind of meat pie around the time potatoes were being introduced in the UK, because they were an affordable thing to eat for peasants, many of whom would live in cottages.
The term cottage pie predates shepherds by nearly a century, but each was used synonymously with the other for a long time. According to the Oxford Companion to Food, Scotland used to make its shepherds pies with pastry instead of mashed potatoes.
Although variations of this dish crop up throughout history, no name for it came into use until the introduction of the mincing machine. Before that, the meat would have to be chopped by hand, or made from leftovers.
This version of shepherds pie calls for ground lamb, readily available in most supermarkets. If you have a tight relationship with your butcher, ask them to grind it fresh. This pie was actually created as a way to use up leftover lamb, probably over a century ago. It is completely worth making even without leftover lamb.
Cottage Pie Vs Shepherds Pie And Cumberland Pie
If youve been wondering what third traditional British pie is very similar to Shepherds Pie and Cottage Pie, then the wait is over. Cumberland Pie is essentially an extended variation of Cottage Pie and Shepherds Pie, except it has the addition of grated cheese and breadcrumbs to the mashed potato topping. Incredible.
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Layering Cottage And Shepherds Pie
How To Freeze Shepherd’s Pie
Cool and cover the baked shepherd’s pie loosely with plastic wrap. Place it in the freezer for two to three hours, or until its fairly firm. Remove the frozen pie and cover it firmly with plastic wrap. Place a large piece of aluminum foil on the counter. Set the baking dish on top. Bring the sides of the foil up and over the pie. Crimp or fold the edges all around to firmly seal the pie in the foil.
When ready to serve the shepherd’s pie, take the casserole from the freezer and remove the foil and the plastic wrap. Use the foil you just removed to loosely cover the pie. Make sure that your casserole dish can go straight from freezer to oven if not, set the casserole in the oven while the oven preheats so that the dish warms slowly.
Bake the casserole for an hour, or until the pie is hot all the way through. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to allow the top to brown. To shorten the baking time to 40 to 45 minutes, defrost it in the refrigerator one day before you plan to bake it.
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Why Sweet Potatoes Are Good For You
Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you could eat because theyre a great source of fiber, loads of vitamins, and disease-fighting antioxidants. Here are some of the ways that sweet potatoes are helping to keep you healthy:
- Nutritious sweet potatoes are a great source of two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber helps keep the healthy bacteria in your intestines healthy, while the insoluble fiber improves your digestion
- Sweet potatoes can reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing homocysteine in the blood, which has been linked to artery damage
- Because sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, they can improve your immunity and digestion, and also boost the production of your collagen levels for healthier skin, hair, and nails
- The deep orange color of sweet potatoes indicated that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A which improves your eye health and enhances your immunity against illness
- Delicious sweet potatoes can help keep you looking and feeling young, due to their high levels of carotenoids, a type of anti-aging antioxidant
- Sweet potatoes can even make you happier since they are a good source of Vitamin D, a nutrient important for keeping your energy and mood levels high
Beef Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Growing up in New England, Shepherd’s Pie meant one and one thing only: a ground beef casserole. It wasn’t until I was in my adult years that I discovered Shepherd’s Pie is actually a dish that originated over the pond, and typically includes ground lamb . As it turns out, cottage pie–a similar casserole made with ground beef– is technically what I had growing up, though my parent’s called it “Shepard’s Pie”. I was so torn whether or not I should title this recipe as I had always known it. Well, it turns out there is a rift in the recipe development community as to what exactly is the correct title! With that being said, I’m pushing forward with what I’ve always known this dish to be. This homey beef casserole is hearty and warm and surely takes the trophy for ultimate comfort food. The correct title aside, this dish is a winner for most everyone and should definitely be on your weekly winter dinner rotation.
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