Here is a great twist on the traditional shepherd's pie with a combination of ground veal and beef, and edamame beans instead of peas. If you are looking for the ultimate comfort food that will keep you warm this winter, this Veal and Beef Shepherd's Pie is exactly what you need!
The Story Behind Our Recipe for Shepherd's Pie
You may find this hard to believe but I had Shepherd's Pie for the first time ever just a few years ago! Now that I've had it, I don't know why I've avoided it for so long. Well, I have an idea as to why this happened, but let me give you a bit of background....
Growing up I was a VERY picky eater. I shed many tears over trying new foods or eating the veggies that my parents prepared. I spent numerous hours sitting at the dinner table staring down a plate of peas trying to figure out how to dispose of them without anyone knowing. And I still hate peas to this day. I'm also not a fan of lamb that tastes, you know, lamby.... I'm sure you can see my problem with traditional Shepherd's pie now, right???
Fast forward to Fall 2017...
Mark and I were flipping through some cookbooks and looking for something comfort food-ish to make for dinner. Then Mark announced with a huge smile on his face, "I got it! Let's make Shepherd's Pie!"
I'm sure you can imagine my reaction and lack of reciprocation of his excitement. BUT, he has made me many things before that I didn't think I would like, and ended up loving. I will write a post on mushrooms one of these days as an example of how he has changed my perspective on certain foods. I said to him, "I've never had it, but let's give it a shot if you think I will like it. Oh, but NO PEAS!"
When Mark knows I either haven't had something before OR that I'm not a fan of some ingredient, he sees this as a challenge and gets really excited to change my mind. I could see the wheels spinning as he started looking through our pantry and spice cabinet, and dotting things down on a notepad. After a few minutes, he said, "I have a plan, and it will be awesome!" I've heard these words many times, and 9 out of 10 times, he is 100% correct. And it was AWESOME! So awesome in fact that we made it a few days later, and then made extra that could be frozen and made at any time!
So, here we are with this ground veal and beef Shepherd's Pie with edamame beans in place of peas - I still got my way on the peas. He has not been able to break the relationship I have with peas yet, but I know he won't stop trying!
How to Make Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd's pie couldn't be easier to make, and our version is no different. It takes a bit of prep to get all the ingredients ready and in the baking dish. Besides prep time, no special techniques are required.
Make the mashed potatoes...
First, you should prepare the mashed potatoes. There isn't any special technique to this either. You want them to be creamy and hold up through baking, so adding an egg to the mixture is what is needed. You can use your favorite mashed potato recipe if you prefer. Or mix it up and add additional flavors to the potatoes such as herbs or parmesan. But we recommend keeping these pretty basic since the rest of the pie has such great flavor!
Make the beef and veal filling...
Now onto the filling! This is fairly easy and requires one large pan, once all your ingredients are chopped and ready to go. Follow the instructions to sauté the veggies before adding the beef and veal to brown. Once this part is complete, all you need to do is transfer the filling to a baking dish such as the one pictured - we use a Le Creuset Oval Au Gratin dish - but use whatever glass or ceramic baking dish you have that will fit the ingredients. Top the filling with mashed potatoes and a touch of paprika and you are ready to bake! This bakes at 400° F for 25 minutes.
Can I use different meat?
Short answer: Yes. Feel free to make this with just ground beef if you do not want to use veal, but the flavor combo of veal and beef is really fantastic and we highly recommend trying it.
You can also experiment with ground turkey, chicken or pork, although these will likely change the overall flavor of the dish. Or, you can go back to the traditional ground lamb and beef combo if you want, but again, the flavor of this will change with the assertiveness of ground lamb. You do you! But please do not get rid of the meat altogether and call this a Shepherd's Pie - call it a Veggie Pie or whatever you want, but Shepherd's Pies have meat. End of story.
We hope you give this a try whether you love or hate Shepherd's Pie, and let us know in the comments what you think. Or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
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