Years ago when we lived in Arizona, there was a great Irish Pub we would go to for a hearty meal on the weekends. One visit I got the shepherds pie, but after devouring it I thought it should have been called comfort pie! It's the best combination of a delicious meat and gravy base, vegetables topped off with mashed potatoes and sometimes cheese. 😍
So a few months later I decided to take my own crack at the recipe, and after carefully selecting the ingredients and following a recipe, I made my first Shepherds pie...everything was perfect, the sauce, the veggies, the garlic mashed potatoes topped with white cheddar...but it wasn't meant to be that night 😫tragedy struck when my inner clutz (thanks mom 🙄) kicked in removing the masterpiece from the oven and it flipped out of my hands, face down on the door of the oven...I could only stand there and cry as all my hard work dripped between the hinges of the oven door, and my husband stood by shocked unable to console me (he was probably devastated that it was ruined, after all the excitement after a small taste test he'd had earlier).
Somehow I was able to salvage some remaining ingredients from the fridge, sans lamb meat that was used up in the first batch, and managed to put together a mini pie for us to eat, with bittersweet enjoyment as we lamented over the one we lost. 😢 My husband joked with me for months telling me he would remove dishes from the oven, and sometimes I would humor him and let him do the laboring... today, it's something we still laugh about from time to time ☺️
It's been years since I've made a traditional Irish Shepherds pie with lamb (I've tried a vegetarian version that was pretty tasty) but after surveying my freezer and pantry, I found everything needed to make a beef version, and so I named this dish "Cowboy's Pie". The prep only took about 25 minutes, and with about 30 minutes of baking and a short stent under the broiler to brown the cheese, this baby was ready for us to dig in!
You will need:
For the Beef Filling:
1 lb Grassfed beef 85% lean
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
4 Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Unbleached flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
For the veggies:
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, cut into small chunks
2 medium carrots, diced
For the topping:
2 cups steamed or boiled sweet potato, mashed
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
fresh ground black pepper, dried parsley (optional)
Putting it al together:
First, take the cubed sweet potato (the smaller the faster they will cook) and place in a pot with about a cup of water, on medium high heat. Stir occasionally as the water boils to ensure all the potatoes cook through. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes or so...do a fork test (see if it inserts and comes out easily from one of the bigger sweet potato pieces) and if done, drain the potatoes and mash them. Cover and set aside.
Next, in a large skillet on medium heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic, sauté for about a minute. Add in the ground beef and cook until browned. Next add the chopped mushrooms, mixing well. Now to make the gravy: pour the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, flour, water, and spices over the beef mixture, stirring until well combined and the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and cover while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Chop the sugar snap peas and carrots fairly small, though if you want to retain a little crunch, larger pieces are ok. Once your veggies are diced, it's time to assemble! In a deep baking dish or corningware, spray lightly with olive oil, then spread the beef and gravy into the bottom. Sprinkle over the fresh vegetables, then top with the mashed sweet potatoes, spreading to make a smooth top, and pile on the cheese. Crack some freshly ground black pepper or parsley over it, then cover and place in a 350F oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove the cover, then brown the cheese under a low broil for about 2-3 minutes. Keep an 👁 on it so you don't burn it! Once the cheese is browned to your liking, remove from the oven, and allow to sit out and cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
This dish works great for a comfort meal, but it's much heathier than its heartier cousin...it also freezes well for future enjoyment if you decide to make a bigger batch. I hope you will enjoy this creation inspired by my Irish heritage, and past catastrophes turned funny memories 🤗
See MFP info below 👇
Kelly is a loving wife, mother, veteran, life-long athlete, personal trainer, and self taught cook with a passion for helping others. She hopes you will be inspired to live a healthier lifestyle while enjoying delicious meals cultivated in her home, and shared at your own tables.