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Dorothy Dean presents: Shepherd’s pie just in time for St. Patrick’s

Instead of going green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, go classic with this shepherd’s pie recipe. (By Audrey Alfaro/For The Spokesman-Review)
Instead of going green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, go classic with this shepherd’s pie recipe. (By Audrey Alfaro/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

From socks to beer, and hair to eggs, the world goes festively green for St. Patrick’s Day.

But if decking yourself – or your food – out it green isn’t your thing, celebrate with this delicious classic Irish dish, shepherd’s pie.

While also known as “cottage pie,” shepherd’s pie is the more commonly used name for any meat pie topped with a mashed potato crust. Though, there is a slight distinction between the two: shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb, while cottage pie is made with beef. And despite some people being sticklers about the difference, most just call either version shepherd’s pie – me being one of them.

But whatever you choose to call it, this savory casserole style meal is sure to become a family staple.

I mean, who doesn’t love meat and potatoes? Now throw in some gravy, speckles of veggies, and – my added layer – a puff pastry crust. How can you resist?

Irish or not, this rich and hearty dish deserves to be celebrated.

While this version uses ground beef, you can substitute ground lamb, chicken, turkey or pork. Leftover stewed or roasted meat can also be used. For a meatless pie, use lentils or beans. And feel free to add in additional veggies, like celery, green beans, or mushrooms.

The puff pastry adds a tender-crisp crust that also absorbs excess liquid and makes the pie easier to serve. Though, shepherd’s pie is traditionally crustless, so it can made without.

And to save time, you can skip making mashed potatoes and just use instant – I won’t judge. About 4-5 cups will be needed.

This dish can also be made 2-3 days in advance. Just skip the oven and cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. It can also be served in individual ramekins. And if you don’t have a house full to feed, cut the recipe in half and bake in a 8 or 9-inch square dish.

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from foodnetwork.com

Crust:

1 1/3 sheets of puff pastry, thawed

Topping:

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1/4 cup half-and-half

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Filling:

2 tablespoons oil

2 carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 (0.75-1.2 ounce) packet brown gravy mix

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup peas

Garnish:

Paprika

Fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and line the bottom of the dish with puff pastry sheets. Using a fork, prick holes all over the pastry and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Remove from oven, set aside, and lower oven temperature to 375 degrees.

For the topping, place potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Place on stove over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove lid and lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Combine the half-and-half and butter in a microwave safe bowl, and heat until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Drain potatoes in colander and return to saucepan. Mash the potatoes, then add in the half-and-half and butter and mash until smooth. Stir in in the sour cream, cream cheese, egg yolk, parsley and seasonings until well combined; set aside.

To make the filling, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add in the carrots and onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic until combined, then add in the ground beef and cook until well browned. Drain off excess fat. Add the salt, garlic powder, pepper, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown gravy mix and water, and stir to combine.

Fold the parsley, corn, and peas into the beef mixture and spread evenly over pre-baked pastry crust. Slather or pipe the mashed potatoes over beef mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are golden and edges are bubbling. Let set on cooling rack at least 15 minutes before serving.

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