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Cold Weather Comfort, Easy As Pie

Originating from Scotland or Northern England, Shepherd’s Pie developed as a means for using leftover roasted lamb, since the mincing machine wouldn’t be invented until the 1870s. Like most history-rich dishes, Shepherd’s Pie goes by numerous names and has many variations. Traditionally, making it with meats other than lamb, like beef or turkey, turned it into “Cottage Pie;” and topping the dish with breadcrumbs and/or cheese turned it into “Cumberland Pie.”

While a very traditional version of Shepherd’s Pie often included a mashed potato crust both on bottom as well as on top, with plenty of butter and/or cream mashed in, our version skips the bottom crust and mashes in both Challenge Butter and Challenge Cream Cheese for richness and fluffy browned peaks when baked. We also added a sprinkling of cheddar cheese for color and a little extra tang.

To save yourself the hassle of washing extra dishes, cook the filling on the stovetop in an ovenproof sauté pan or dutch oven, then top with the mashed potatoes, bake and serve from the same pan.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 oz Challenge Cream Cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Challenge Butter
  • 1 pound ground lamb, beef, or turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ cup peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  • 1
    Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Mash potatoes with cream cheese. Stir in milk and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • 3
    While potatoes boil, heat the butter in a medium skillet brown and crumble meat for 3 minutes, add onion and carrot and continue to cook until meat is cooked through and veggies have softened, about 5 minutes.
  • 4
    Stir in the flour and then broth and cook another 3 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Stir in peas, thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
  • 5
    Pour meat/vegetable mixture into a 1½ quart baking dish. Spoon potatoes evenly over meat and crosshatch with a fork.
  • 6
    Top with cheese if desired and bake for 30 minutes.