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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie
The mashed potatoes can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is also an excellent way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Make sure you have 3 cups total.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 3 cups shredded braised brisket (see related recipe at left)
  • 2 cups sauce from brisket or 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme

Directions:

Cook the potatoes
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the potatoes, water to cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well.

Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a bowl, or mash in the bowl with a potato masher. Add the milk and 1 Tbs. of the butter, and beat with a wooden spoon or with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Simmer the filling
Meanwhile, in another large saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas, brisket, sauce and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 7 to 10 minutes.

Assemble and cook
Preheat a broiler.

Spoon the hot filling into a shallow 9-inch square baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the filling. Place under the broiler and broil until the potatoes are tinged with brown, about 1 minute. Serve directly from the baking dish. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Weeknight, by Melanie Barnard (Oxmoor House, 2006).