Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: mashed potatoes

Shepherd’s Pie

This is another favorite in our family.  Well, my husband doesn’t like it.  And neither does my middle son.  But the rest of us like it.  It’s a cinch to make and a great dish for a busy night.  Which is what we had the night I made this so it worked out great all the way around.

The first time I had Shepherd’s Pie it was when my husband and I were dating.  There was an Irish Pub in the next town over from where I grew up that my husband and I visited often.   On one of our frequent visits I saw Shepherd’s Pie on the menu and decided to try it.  I fell in love with it instantly.  Their serving of it was much prettier than the version I make but much of that has to do with the fact that each serving was served in individual pie dishes, and the whipped potatoes were beautifully swirled on top.

A few years ago I was craving this dish.  Hubby and I headed out for a date night without the kids, pulled up out front and found the Irish Pub we loved to visit while dating was now a biker bar/pool hall.  I wasn’t a happy camper.  And that is further evidence of how much I hate change!

If you live relatively close to a Stew Leonard’s try their made in store Shepherd’s Pie.  It’s delicious!

Here is my simple version of this dish.  I like to make this sometimes when I have some leftover mashed potatoes I want to use up.  Makes it even quicker to throw together!

Shepherd’s Pie:

Serves 6 (with some leftover)

  • 2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 1 lb. Bag frozen mixed vegetables (green beans, corn, peas and carrots)
  • 1 Packet Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 Small Onion Diced
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 5-6 medium to large Russett Potatoes

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for your potatoes.  If you have mashed potatoes leftover you can skip this part and just make the rest of the filling.  If not, wash and peel all the potatoes and cut into even sized chunks.  Pour into the boiling water and cook until tender.  Drain and beat together with some butter, milk, salt and pepper and place to the side.  I’m not giving measurements on this because it’s simple enough to just add enough of each ingredient to get that mashed potato texture.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.  Once browned well, drain and return to the skillet. 

To the ground meat add the packet of gravy mix, the diced onion, 3/4 cup of water, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and the frozen mixed vegetables.  Mix together well until heated through. 

Pour the ground meat mixture into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish and spread it out evenly.  Then top the ground beef with the mashed potatoes and spread out evenly across the top.

Place the casserole into a preheated 350 degree oven, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bottom is bubbly and the top has browned slightly.   You don’t want a deep browning on the potatoes, just a little golden will do ya!



Fried Mashed Potatoes

This picture should say it all.  It’s not healthy, it’s not low-fat, but it’s good!  My father made this sometimes when we had some leftover mashed potatoes.  I had made a batch of mashed potatoes the other night and two days later we still had some leftover.  That’s when I remembered these and my father making them.   I got happy thinking about that since it had been so long since I last had them.

I will tell you these work best with cold leftover mashed potatoes.  Don’t try making them with freshly made or they will fall apart.  They still do fall apart a bit when you cook them, but you can rectify that.  I’ll show you how!

Begin with forming some patties of the mashed potatoes.  You don’t want these too big because they will be hard to work with while you pan fry them.   Pack them together nicely and place them on a plate.

Get out a frying pan and place it on the stove.  I prefer to use the cast iron pan for this.  You want one with enough room to flip these and work them around in the pan.  The one I used was too small, but I had something else cooking in the large cast iron pan, so I had to struggle a bit with the smaller one.

Get the pan warm and throw in a couple tablespoons of butter. 

Let the butter brown slightly, but not burn.  Once that’s done, turn the heat down to medium/low and gently place the potato patties in the pan. 

Now this is the hard part.  You MUST leave them alone.  Don’t flip them, push them, pat them, turn them, or move them in any way.  First, they will fall apart on you, and second, you want them to get a beautiful browned crust on the bottom before you flip them.  This could take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes to do.  The point is to get it nice and browned without burning.  As long as you keep the temperature set to medium/low, you will be just fine. 

You can take a bit of a peak underneath after a few minutes just to see if they are browned enough.  If the are, flip them very carefully.  I find using a somewhat flexible and thin spatula, backwards, works well. 

The inside of the potatoes will become soft and might start to ooze out a bit of the crispy top and bottom.  If this happens, just use the spatula to kind of scoop them back in, while they are still in the frying pan, and sort of reshape them.  Once you get them nice and crispy on both sides, scoop them up, making sure to scrape the crispy bottom with them and flip them on your plate. 

I don’t season these because the mashed potatoes have already been seasoned, and the butter is salted, so they are good to go just like this.  No recipe to follow either.  Just use your own day old, cold mashed potatoes, and fry them up for something different.  The crispy outside mixed with the creamy inside is perfect together!

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