14 November, 2012  |   7 Comments

Pea-free Shepard’s Pie Recipe

Like I said yesterday, we hosted our neighbors for a midweek dinner party.

The kids went to bed and the grown-ups stayed awake to talk of grown-up things. James and I didn’t realize how much we needed some grown-up time with other adults not talking about budgets, schedules or transportation.

I served this meaty, potatoey casserole, with a side of peas, dinner rolls and roasted cauliflower. Damn, I love me some roasted cauliflower.

Shepard's pie from Helen Jane makes people grin from their tummies.

Pro-tip! You know how roasted cauliflower tastes delicious but makes your house smell like toots?

And you probably don’t want your guests walking into your home and making, um, assumptions.

I prepare the cauliflower by cutting, washing and tossing with olive oil, salt and pepper ahead of time. Then I put it in a preheated 450° oven for 20 minutes when the guests arrive.

Guests won’t notice the smell because it’s gradually getting worse around them.

Pull the pan out when everyone sits down.
Hooray! Roasted cauliflower for everyone!

We were able to tuck this dinner party into the week because we made the Shepard’s Pie in advance. It was a huge pick-me-up, worth all the dishes sitting in the sink right now.

Be ye warned.
This recipe uses a lot of dishes.
But it also makes enough for two, one to freeze and one to serve.

Helen Jane’s Pea-free Shepard’s Pie Recipe

This super-meaty Shepard’s Pie is pure comfort food.
(And makes dang-a-rang great leftovers.)

10 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 carrots
1 large onion
3 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
Another 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1.5 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound sausage
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the scrubbed potatoes to a large soup pot. Cover with cool water. Heat the pot to boiling and let rumble away for roughly 30 minutes. When potatoes are easily poke-able with a skewer or knife tip, remove from water and cool.

While the potatoes are cooking, chop the carrots, onion, celery and garlic. You can mix the carrots, onion and celery in a bowl, but keep the garlic separate.

In a large dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage and ground beef. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and salt and pepper to the browned sausage and ground beef mixture and stir through.

Heat another tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the hot oil. Add salt and pepper and thyme. Sauté for at least 5 minutes, or until the carrots start to soften and the onions become translucent.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Potatoes cool enough?
Now remove the peels from the potatoes and set the naked spuds aside. Mash or rice the potatoes with the stick of butter. Gently stir through the cream and salt.

Now you have three pans.
One has meat.
One has veggies.
One has mashed potatoes.

Add 1/2 of the meat mixture to the bottom of 1 9×13-inch rectangular casserole dish.
Add 1/2 of the meat mixture to the bottom of another 9×13 inch rectangular casserole dish.
(I use one deep casserole dish that’s bigger than 9×13 and a smaller vintage one, so it’s not exact.)

Spread veggie mixture on top of the meat mixture.
Spread potato mixture on top of the veggies, carefully.
If you like, you can scrape your fork across the top to give the top of your casserolepie even more browny crunchiness.

Wrap aluminum foil around one of the casseroles and put in the freezer, put the other casserole in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how brown you like the top of your pie. Let it rest for 10 minutes before your guests devour it. We made one for six people and there was only enough left for one measly mini-lunch.

Serve with peas on the side*, so your guests may choose to add them to their forkfulls.

Our guests brought a Beaujolais and a Pinot Noir. The 2011 Folk Machine Pinot Noir was a goodie. Look into it.

Shepard's pie from Helen Jane makes people grin from their tummies.

I mixed a little honey and butter into my peas, and served them to the kids, saying, “These are peas Winnie the Pooh would eat! They’re Pooh Peas.” And I’m not sure we’ve yet stopped laughing.

Nope, still laughing.

7 thoughts on “Pea-free Shepard’s Pie Recipe

  1. 1
    esully says:

    I want more now. So. Good.

  2. 2
    HillJ says:

    I just read something on Twitter how you are giving a keynote at a conference associated with the Pioneer Woman. Frankly, I’m stunned. I have poked my head in here for the last few months and I was just about ready to add you to my favorites.

    How is it that a seemingly intelligent woman gets caught up in the hype for a phony Internet persona? Have you ever bothered to research the back story on Ree Drummond? There’s much more than meets the eye with this fake “little ol’ ranch wife.” On several occasions, she’s been embroiled in plagiarism scandals stemming from her blog posts. Routinely she appears on morning talk shows and absolutely skewers the culinary profession, i.e. when Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts asked her how long a peach whiskey sauce should boil and Ree replied, “until it gets hot.”

    I wouldn’t walk across the street to see Ree Drummond. Stealing recipes from Bartlesville, Oklahoma’s church and community cookbooks, using her husband’s mega-millions to hire publicists and kissing up to Bobby Flay leaves me non-plussed.

    Before you jump on the PW bandwagon, do some homework.


    • 2.1
      Helen Jane says:

      Wow, hey.
      I agreed to speak at the Big Potluck months ago, before I knew who was speaking.

      It’s an event held by people I respect, who are working as hard as I am to see where this digital sharing for money and love thing goes.

      It stings to be accused of being naive. My day to day has me working behind the front put up by lots of bloggers aiming to get to the same place.

      I’m enthusiastic to speak on the same marquee as someone who’s taken this digital sharing thing to an entirely different place — authentic or not.

      Happy to tell you more if you want to take it to email at hj@helenjane.com.

      • Helen Jane says:

        James just stopped me from marching around the house muttering, I’m JUST EXCITED TO BE DOING A KEYNOTE and made me sit down on the couch and I think he’s going to take away my internet.

  3. 3
    Julie says:

    This post came at the perfect time – we are hosting two big dinner parties this weekend, and I was looking for things to feed a crowd that avoided Thanksgiving flavors as much as possible. Yay!

  4. 4
    Cindysoo says:

    Hooray, a Shepard’s pie that isn’t smothered in cheese!!!
    As for Ree Drummond, she works hard. Some people with all their husband’s money don’t work at all. I’d say she is one lucky woman with a darn nice life. She does not claim to be born on the prairie!

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