Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shepherds Pie

I promised a recipe for shepherds pie today using leftovers. First, let me tell you a little something about me that you have probably already guessed. I like to eat...suprise! No really, I like to eat. I think in order to be a great cook, one needs to really enjoy the experience. I'm already thinking of my next meal by the time I am preparing to eat my current one. I also like to experiment with food. Now, I'm not one of those people who mix strange things together and call it 'blending' flavors. No, most of my experimentation comes from an existing recipe that I can tweak and make it a bit better in my mouth. Remember for me, it's all about eating the finished product! The last secret I'm going to divulge today recipe for shepherds pie! Ha! Ha! You really thought I was on a secret divulging roll!

Ok, here need to know that this is a fluid recipe. Meaning it changes depending on what you have that you need to eat out of the fridge. This is about using up leftovers that would otherwise get tossed or in my house given to the large german shephard that thinks she's my lap dog! She gets well fed as it is, she doesn't need my leftover pot roast!

If you plan your meals smartly, you will have everything you need for this meal already in the fridge by thursday night. Can you tell which night we usually have this? Pot roast and carrots on sunday, mashed potatoes from tuesday or wednesday. Assorted veggies from earlier in the week. I look forward to this meal when it's on the menu, I can even make it in the morning or the night before and store it in the fridge until I put it into the oven.

I make this in a round casserole. For large families, a 9x13 baking dish would also work.

Leftover meat - can be beef, pork, chicken, ground beef
Cut into bite size portions and place on the bottom of the pan.

Place veggies you have on top of meat. Carrots, corn, green beans, peas, whatever you have.

Liquid - This also varies for me. I sometimes have the roast liquid that I have placed in the fridge to harden off the fat. If I don't have that, I'll use beef broth or french onion soup. Mix 1 cup of brown gravy, this can be from a mix or a jar or homemade to the other liquid to make about 2-4 cups depending on the size of the casserole. You want the liquid to cover the meat and veggies in the pan.

I sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top of all this.

Leftover mashed potatoes. Double the normal amount you make when you make them earlier in the week. In a pinch, I guess it would be alright to use instant! I just don't happen to like instant so for me only the real deal will work. Place them on top of the stuff in the casserole and make sure the potatoes seal the edges.

Place uncovered in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes until gravy begins to bubble up through the potatoes.

Serve by dishing up onto plates so the potatoes end up on the bottom with the meat, veggies and gravy on top. One of my son's friends loves this dish. I've never told him that it's leftovers! What he doesn't know won't hurt him!

You won't need a side with this but I am a salad queen. If we don't have a salad, I don't think the meal is complete, so I serve a salad! I'll cover my issues with salads on another day...maybe I'll need a full week.

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