Traditional Shepherd’s Pie Recipe with Hidden Vegetables

This was a recipe I ate many of nights as a kid.  It involved my dads favorite things; beef, mashed potatoes and corn, and he got to smother the entire thing with ketchup – which made him a very happy man, and made my mom happy because she didn’t have to listen to him bitch and complain about eating.  My mom even made this recipe for me when I first got home from the hospital with Anthony, or if I was just being lazy and didn’t feel like cooking – it used to happen… before children!

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, this is the perfect vessel for them.  I made my shepherd’s pie a little different than my mom does, but I stick to the basics… more or less.  What is different about my shepherd’s pie is that it is loaded with all sorts of vegetables like; zucchini, bell peppers, spinach, onion, garlic and celery but my kiddos have no idea that it’s in there.  Shoot, Dad didn’t even know it was in there last time I made it for him … a year ago, and he is the pickiest person I have ever laid eyes on.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 cup beef stock
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1 zucchini
1 clove garlic
2 stalks celery
2 lbs russet potatoes
1 cup cream or milk
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup each frozen peas and corn
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

The first step to make this recipe is to make mashed potatoes.  Because I am lazy (seems to be a common theme today), I am just going to copy and paste some pictures and instructions from a post at the beginning of the month of meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting.

Add to a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil.  This is the trick to making perfect mashed potatoes.  The smaller you dice your potatoes, the quicker they will cook.

april fools food | meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potatoes icing recipe

Boil potatoes over high heat until fork tender and drain being sure to save 1/4 cup of the starchy potato water to make your gravy for the shepherd’s pie.  Return potatoes to pot with cream and butter.  Using a whisk or a electric beater, mix potatoes until smooth and there are no lumps.  Alternatively, if you have a ricer or a tomato mill, process cooked potatoes through until smooth and add softened butter and cream and mix with a silicone spatula until smooth.  

april fools food | meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potatoes icing recipe

Meanwhile, after you’ve finished making mashed potatoes, or while they are cooking, start preparing the meat filling for the shepherd’s pie.

I pureed my vegetables for this recipe in a food processor, so that I could easily sneak them into the dish.  I LOVE sneaking vegetables into my kids food.  They have no idea that all these veggies are in their favorite foods, and I feel good knowing that they are getting all this added nutrition in their diets.  Feel free to change it up, and add your favorite veggies to the recipe.  Carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes are also very good additions.

april fools food | meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potatoes icing recipe

Roughly chop onion, celery and zucchini.  Place in the bowl of your food processor with spinach and process until smooth.

april fools food | meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potatoes icing recipe

Heat a large over medium high heat and add ground beef.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, being sure to break up any large chunks of meat.

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Add pureed veggies to meat, and cook 10-15 minutes, until the ground beef is no longer pink, and the veggies have softened, and almost melted into the meat.

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Add beef broth and reserved potato starch to meat and veggies, and stir to mix it all in, being sure to scrape up any browned bits of meat and veggies off the bottom of the pan.

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Reduce heat to medium, and let simmer for 5-10 more minutes until thickened.  It will be like the consistency of gravy.

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Add meat and veggie mixture to the bottom of a pie plate, or a 9×9 casserole dish, and smooth out across the bottom in an even layer.

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Top with frozen peas and corn.

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Scoop a big pile of mashed potatoes over the top of meat and veggies, and gently smooth out over the top, making sure you have an even layer of potatoes.  

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly browned, and the meat is bubbly.

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

Let cool 5 minutes, and serve hot.  And if you are like my Dad, and Anthony.. add a little ketchup!

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

traditional shepherd's pie recipe with hidden vegetables

 


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