Skillet Shepherd's Pie

For this savory pie, ground beef, onions, veggies, herbs and spices marry perfectly.  Everything is sauteed together and then combined with beef broth and tomato paste.  The hearty filling is then topped with fluffy mashed potatoes, sprinkled with cheddar cheese and baked.  This time I  used my 2002 Salt Lake Olympic cast iron skillet.  You know,  its from the greatest Winter Olympics ever held.  Great for the top of the stove and into the oven.  Cast iron kind of gives me that comfort food with a rustic feeling.

Note: I did put on my potatoes first so they are cooking while I was making the filling. (see below)

Shepherds Pie

1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Crumble in ground beef and saute 1 minute.  Add onion and carrot, then continue to saute until meat is no longer pink and onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.  Mix in flour, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, and parsley.

In a small bowl, combine beef broth and tomato paste.  Mix together, then add to beef mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Lower heat and simmer mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. This is when you want to add the peas, so they don't get soggy.

Potato Topping
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons butter, softened
whole milk, enough for the consistency you like.
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese

Place diced potatoes in a medium saucepan.  Cover with water and place over high heat.  Allow to come to a boil.  Boil 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  Drain.

Mash potatoes until smooth, then add butter, followed by milk.  Whip until fluffy.  Spread potatoes over beef filling.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 min, until top is browned and cheese is melted.  Be careful not to over brown the top.

Serves 4-6, depending on size of portions you like.

This recipe can also be made with a pie crust. After you make the filling simply put the mixture in a prepared pie plate with crust and top with mashed potatoes and cheese and bake in oven about 25 minutes. Baking time is a little longer so the crust will bake completely.  Be careful not to over brown the top.

This recipe adapted from allrecipes.