Cooking Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie

After making pierogies a few weeks back, I found myself with extra dough and potato filling. I figured I could just freeze the dough for a later attempt, but needed to come up with something to do with the potatoes I had lying around. My wife suggested whipping up some Shepherd’s Pie and since I already had most of the ingredients lying around the house I got to work. As I tend to do in situations like this, I headed over to the Food Network’s website and wound up going with Alton Brown’s recipe. Since I already had the potatoes, I ignored that part of his recipe and also went with ground beef instead of lamb because my wife doens’t like lamb so much. I left out the rosemary for the same reason, but aside from those few things, I followed the recipe as it’s written.

Thawing out my homemade chicken stock was one of the first steps. I just popped a few cubes out, put them in my smallest pan and got that on some heat. While that warmed, I got the chopping and prepping. The onions and carrots were next, then I also got the flour in a small bowl and mixed the other ingredients you see in the picture to take up as little space on my small counter as possible.

The cooking itself was pretty straightforwards. The vegetables went in first, then add the meat, brown and add the liquid and boil for ten minutes. Drop the contents into a baking dish, add some frozen peas and corn (it’s winter here, so I couldn’t get my hands on fresh) and put the potatoes on top. Since I had a bunch of smaller potato balls in a container, I simply smashed them together with my hand and then scooped them out onto the meat and vegetables.

That went into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes and we were good to go. Shepherd’s Pie isn’t a dish that I grew up with, but the wonderful cook at the fraternity house I lived in for three of my four years at Ohio Wesleyan University made it on a regular basis and I was a fan. I really enjoyed the dish and can see adding it to my regular winter rotation. As much as I like experimenting with new dishes, sometimes it’s nice to have a series of good, hearty fall-back recipes for these upcoming cold months.

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