In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I tried Ina Garten’s easy recipe for Shepherd’s Pie.
I’m Irish-American, but I don’t recall ever having Shepherd’s Pie before. The dish is traditional in the countryside, dating back to the late 17th century when peasant women prepared the dish to reuse leftovers from the week’s Sunday roast dinner.
However, shepherd’s pie has certainly found its way to the States. While Irish versions typically favor the use of lamb, many American versions use ground beef or turkey instead.
I decided to give Ina Garten’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe a try, which calls for ingredients like carrots, celery, white mushrooms, ground turkey, and homemade mashed potatoes.
I started by peeling my Yukon gold potatoes.
A bag of potatoes typically weighs about 5 pounds, but the recipe called for only 3 pounds of potatoes. I ended up finding this to be the perfect amount to completely cover the cake.
Then I chopped the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and placed them in a saucepan of water.
I then boiled the potatoes until they were soft. This took about 20 minutes.
I used a time-saving hack to prep my veggies.
The recipe called for finely diced carrots, celery and white mushrooms. I decided to use a food processor to lightly chop my veggies. I liked the end result and found this to be the easiest way to cook all the veggies in seconds.
I also hand chopped some mushrooms to add more texture.
After my veggies were cut, I set them aside in a small bowl and turned my attention to cooking the meat.
The recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of ground turkey, but feel free to get creative if you don’t want to use turkey.
You can use virtually any type of ground beef you’d like, or even plant-based ground beef if you’re a vegetarian. I ended up liking the choice of ground turkey as it made the very sticky meal a little lighter than if I had used higher fat meat.
I ended up using a packet and a half of ground turkey.
I then added chicken broth and cooked the mixture until fully combined and some of the liquid had evaporated.
I also added tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and frozen peas to the pan and continued to cook the filling until it was simmering.
After I finished the pie filling, I set about preparing my potatoes for baking.
After draining the potatoes, I hand mashed them in the same pot I cooked them in. The recipe called for the use of a hand mixer, but I found a potato masher to be just as effective for making creamy mashed potatoes, especially after adding a mixture of whole milk, almost a knob of Kerry Gold butter, and sour cream.
I wanted a deep golden crust on the mashed potatoes, so I let the pie cook a little longer than the recipe suggested.
I baked the cake in the oven for about half an hour, although the recipe suggested it would be ready in 20 minutes.
All ovens can vary slightly depending on the cooking time, so I would suggest checking the dish until you are happy with the result.
When I served the cake it was hot and delicious. I would definitely make this recipe again for St. Patrick’s Day… or practically any other occasion.
It didn’t quite hold its shape, but I imagine it would if I’d let the cake sit for a minute or two before serving. However, I just couldn’t resist diving in.
The mashed potatoes were creamy, the filling was perfectly seasoned, and the veggies came through in a medley of flavors. It was simple enough to be appropriate for a winter weeknight meal, but impressive enough for a dinner party or even game day.
The recipe was also enough to feed at least four people, with plenty of leftovers. In my book, this traditional recipe got a thumbs up.