I was attempting to make a quick run through the grocery store today after work. I had my list, I knew where everything was I wanted, and I was just about done when I went to get the butter. I have improved my shopping skills and do not trust titles like “All Natural” , sure you are buddy, or “as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal”, I’ll eat the oatmeal instead, thank you. There are some things that are just not in my mind to be suspicious about yet, like butter. Butter. Margarine sure, but what could be in butter?
Like everyone else, I do not want to spend all my money on eating healthy so I try and buy organic where I need to and save money on other things where I can. I’ll admit I’ve been buying the cheap store brand butter because I didn’t think anything of it. On my quick run through the grocery store today I was caught off guard when I couldn’t locate my normal unsalted butter due to a package change. My normal white box with blue lettering is now a blue box with yellow lettering and this change gave me the extra 30 seconds to look at it and notice the ingredients: Cream Pasteurized, Natural Flavors. Natural flavors raised a red flag and I let out a groan in the middle of the dairy section along with a very audible “it’s butter!” to which I got a weird look from the stock boy. Natural flavors are labeled as a controversial ingredient but it is essentially a nice word to cover up chemical additives in your food. So, needless to say I now have a healthy skepticism for every food and ended up paying the extra dollar for butter without natural flavors added.
Now on to the Shepard’s pie:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 1-2 cups vegetables – chopped carrots, peas
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs organic potatoes (3 big ones)
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- Celtic Sea Salt, or regular sea salt
- 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of sour cream (optional)
- 1/4 cup half and half (optional)
- Cheddar cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF
Quarter the potatoes and boil them in salt water until fork tender, around 20 minutes. I used 3 medium white potatoes and 1 large sweet potato since it was on hand. You can peel them if you wish, I didn’t for convenience and I like the skins.
While the potatoes are boiling chop the onion and carrots. In a large frying pan melt the butter and on medium high heat saute the veggies. After 10 mins or when the they are tender add in any other veggies, i.e. peas or corn.
Add the ground beef to the veggies and cook until longer pink. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add Herbes de Provence or you could just do rosemary if you have that on hand. I am just a fan of savory and rosemary together. Add beef broth, simmer on medium low heat for about 10 mins. Add more beef broth if needed to keep moist.
Drain the potatoes when tender. Mash potatoes in a bowl with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer. Add the sour cream and half and half, you can use any type of milk I had extra half and half (You can substitute 4 tbsp of butter instead). Mix until smooth.
Using a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour the beef and veggies on the bottom. Top with the mashed potatoes and bake at 400ºF for 30 mins. Around the 20 minute mark top with grated cheddar if desired.
I love Shepard’s Pie because it is versatile You can add different types of vegetables if you want or use sweet potatoes which gives it a great fall color. I have added parsnips into the mashed potatoes before! It is easy to cut back on the fat if you want a lighter dish but we were looking for something hearty on a cold fall day!