Now that the world is ending I’m certain there are many of you at home who need to start cooking but have no idea where to start. I was the same way when I first moved out on my own but I promise, cooking and creating recipes is not as difficult and scary as you think it is.
This recipe was literally a last minute throw together with things I needed to use and had lying around the house and honestly, that’s how a lot of my recipes come to be. I start with what I want and then make adjustments for what I have. This recipe is a pretty easy and quick one to just toss together if you’re tired or low on ingredients.
1lb of ground beef
4 large sweet potatoes
1/2 yellow or white onion diced
6 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of flour
1-2 cups of milk
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of frozen mixed veggies
4-6 cloves of minced garlic
Caraway seeds (to taste)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
1. Traditionally, Shepard’s Pie is made with ground lamb, regular potatoes and gravy but I had none of those ingredients so I improvised with sweet potatoes, and creamed ground beef instead of gravy and ground lamb. Making sure your potatoes are soft enough to mash is probably the one thing that takes the most time so that’s what I got started on first. To speed up this process, make sure to chop your sweet potatoes into smaller chunks and add a little salt to the water and boil them for about 15 minutes.
2. While your potatoes are going, preheat your oven to 375 and get started on the creamed beef by first browning your ground beef. If you aren’t using lean meat you may need to drain your meat before proceeding. Basically, you don’t want a whole lot of grease and beef liquid in the pan or the creamed part won’t come out right so use your best judgement. Once your beef is mostly browned, add your caraway, onion and garlic and cook until fragrant – about 2-5 minutes – adding 2 tbsp of butter at this time.
3. Once your onion and garlic are fragrant add the remaining butter and melt down then sprinkle a good amount of flour over the beef and butter, whisking or stirring frequently. You should start to see the flour and butter crumble up within in the pan, if not, keep adding flour and stirring until you do.
4. Now that you have your flour chunks in the pan cook for a minute or two longer and then start slowly pouring and stirring in the milk. I used 2% Lactaid but you could use whole milk if you prefer. It is very important that you slowly mix the milk into the mixture so that the flour and butter will incorporate correctly and give you a nice cream sauce not a chunky, flour mix. Keep adding milk until the sauce is the consistency you want. I added almost 1 full cup of milk because I wanted extra sauce to cook into the potatoes, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want.
5. Your sweet potatoes, by now, should be soft enough to drain and mash. Add about 2 tbsp of butter and a few splashes of milk while you mash your sweet potatoes so that they have a velvety and smooth texture. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
6. Find a baking dish and spray with non-stick spray then line the bottom with sweet potatoes, defrost your veggies in a bowl draining excess water and add on top of the sweet potatoes, then add your creamed beef, top with remaining sweet potatoes and cheddar cheese. Place in oven for 7 minutes then broil on high for 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden, remove and enjoy!
And that is it! This recipe is really a very simple one to just toss together with whatever you have in the house! I hope you enjoy this and let me know if you make this and what you thought!