This is NOT your typical Shepard's Pie (not that there's anything wrong with that! ) As I said earlier, I did not want to serve guests anything that looked like leftovers or smacked of "Mystery Meat Helper". So, I pawed through the spice/condiment shelf and came up with this one. Use the vegetables that you know people will enjoy; my friends are fiends for vegetables so they can appreciate turnips, parsnips and such. I always have a one pound bag of each of these veggies in the frig at all times, so the cost of this dish is very low; however, if you don't normally have root vegetables on hand, see if you can buy them individually.
ELEGANT SHEPARD'S PIE
2-Pounds of Ground Beef (I've used ground sirloin but plain beef is tastier)
2-Spanish Onions, minced
2-Stalks of Celery, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-Pound Portabello mushrooms, cut into chunks
1-Bag of Frozen Corn (large if you like corn, small if you don't)
1-Cup of Sliced Carrots
1-Cup of Sliced Parsnips
1-Cup of Diced Turnips
5-Cloves of Garlic, minced
1-Sprig each of Fresh Rosemary and Thyme (fresh is so important!) 6" pieces
2-Tablespoons of Butter
1/2-Cup of Flour
1-6 ounce Can of Condatina Tomato Paste
3-4 Tablespoons EACH of Soy Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce
1/4-1/2 Cup of GOOD Red Wine
1-Can (10.5 ounce can of Progresso French Onion Soup)
8-10 Cups of Mashed Potatoes (from scratch or package)
1-Tablespoon Melted Butter
1-Tablespoon of Paprika
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Have a 13" x 10" pan ready. (I use Pyrex)
2) In a large 12" skillet, add 2 Tablespoons of butter and sauté until soft: garlic, onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, carrots, turnips and parsnips. Covering pan will help soften veggies sooner.
3) Add ground beef, Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Herb Sprigs and Tomato Paste. When beef is browned, add 1/2 cup of flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. REMOVE HERB SPRIGS AND TOSS.
4) Add can of French Onion Soup and wine; bring to boil. Shut off heat and pour mixture into the 13" x 10" pan.
5) Piping the mashed potatoes on top works better than just dropping them, but do what is easiest for YOU to place the 8-10 cups of potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Brush with the 1 Tablespoon of Melted Butter and sprinkle with paprika. (You can freeze this at this point and haul it out when you want a good hearty meal. Individual cooked portions also freeze very well.)
6) Bake for 30 minutes or until top of potatoes begin to brown.
(Note: Some people insist on putting cheese on everything! My British partner is very turned off by this U.S. custom so I don't add cheese to the top. You can, though, if your crowd are 'Cheese-Heads', although I can't vouch for what it tastes like.)