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Quick Fix: Shepherd’s pie perfect for St. Patrick’s Day

Shepherd’s Pie, made with ground beef or lamb, can be a delicious way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)
By Linda Gassenheimer Tribune News Service

Around this time of year with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, shepherd’s pie comes to mind. The pie has a savory meat filling topped with mashed potatoes and cheese. It’s usually made with lamb or ground lamb, but it is also made with ground beef – called cottage pie. There’s always a discussion whether the pies are Irish or English. The answer is both. Either way, enjoy this quick dinner.

I used 95% lean ground beef. If you prefer lamb, ask the butcher for lamb cubes cut from the leg and cut these into half-inch cubes.

To shorten making the mashed potato topping, I cook the potatoes in the microwave and mash them in a food processor. It saves time and an extra pot to wash. If you don’t have access to a microwave, add the potatoes to a saucepan of cold water, cover with a lid, and boil 10 to 15 minutes, until they are soft.

Helpful hints:

• You can use 6 cloves of garlic instead of minced garlic.

• You can use any type of shredded cheese.

• The recipe calls for a small amount of tomato paste. Freeze any extra for another meal.

Shepherd’s Pie

3/4 pound russet or Idaho potatoes

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups frozen chopped or diced onion

1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 teaspoons minced garlic

3/4 pound 95% lean ground beef

1 tablespoon flour

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 ounce)

Preheat broiler. Wash potatoes; do not peel. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add water and cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Microwave on high 5 minutes. Remove from microwave. Let sit without removing the cover while preparing remaining ingredients. Mash the potatoes in a food processor or with a potato ricer or sieve. Mix with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat an 8 - or 9-inch skillet that can go from stovetop to broiler, over medium high heat. Add the onion and 1 tablespoon chicken broth. Saute until the onions are soft and golden, 5 minutes. Add more chicken broth if pan becomes dry. Add the garlic and ground beef. Break up beef with the edge of a spoon and saute 1 minute.

Sprinkle flour over top and add the remainingchicken broth, tomato paste and rosemary. Mix well. Simmer 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Add Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Taste for seasoning adding more Worcestershire if needed. Spread mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with cheese. Place under the heated broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Listen to Linda on and all major podcast sites. Email her at