Everywhere on Earth, there’s a dish that people use to hide their leftovers. Sure, you can make it from scratch, but the beauty of these recipes is that you can throw in whatever you’ve got on hand and it’s just as good.
Today I’ve got one that for some reason I don’t do nearly often enough: Shepherd’s Pie. Meat, potatoes, and whatever vegetables you’ve got handy and you’re ready to go.
Clean the potatoes. Peel them of you want to, but it’s definitely optional. I prefer to leave them on. Chop into 1-inch pieces and put in a pot of salted, boiling water.
You might notice the water doesn’t seem to be boiling in that picture. Well, I like to take the pot off the heat before dumping in splashy things. Call it a personal quirk of mine.
Cook the potatoes until a fork goes in easily, then drain in a colander.
At this point you’d expect to see directions to mash the potatoes. I was about to grab the masher when I remembered I’ve got a Ninja. I dumped all the potatoes in, added a little milk and some salt and pepper and hit it.
And I finally answered the question, “Is there anything a Ninja can’t do?” Yes. It can’t do mashed potatoes. At least not a whole batch at once. The stuff on the bottom got nice and creamy, but it didn’t turn over enough to draw in what was on top.
So I moved it to a bowl and finished mashing with a rubber spatula. Yes, the potatoes were that soft.
While the potatoes are going, brown the ground beef, breaking it up very well.
I greased the pan with bacon fat. Feel free to use whatever you like to fry with.
Add some onions, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.
Then add all the vegetables.
I had a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, which you can see in the ingredients picture up top, and a red pepper I found while I was cooking the ground beef. You can use whatever leftover veggies you have, just dice them all nice and small.
Cook just until everything is warmed through, then transfer to a casserole dish.
Cover with the mashed potatoes, making sure they go all the way to the edges.
Then cover with shredded cheese.
Get a block of cheese and shred it yourself. The pre-shredded stuff is coated with corn starch to keep it from sticking in the bag. It also keeps it from melting together nicely.
Cover the casserole and cook at 350° for 30-40 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook for another 10 minutes to let the cheese get a little bubbly on top. If you don’t have children looking over your shoulder asking, “Is it doooooone yeeeeeet?” you might let the cheese get a little browned and crispy around the edges, like a good lasagna. Or, you might just take it out and serve it now.
With fresh-baked skillet dinner rolls that you baked at the same time.
And that’s it.