Shepherd’s Pie

A comfort favorite of mine is this delicious and classic Shepherd’s Pie.  Creamy mashed potatoes on top of a deep and flavorful lamb mixture is oh-so-satisfying.  And served in these cute little cocottes dishes it makes for a wonderful presentation.  But if you don’t have these dishes any 1.5 quart baking dish will do.  I chose to put a Boursin cheese into the mashed potatoes because I like that garlicky herbal flavor but you can omit that if it’s not your thing and just use a little more butter and milk.  I made this for my family over the holidays and we all loved it.  A perfect dinner for our Napa mini-vacation.  Happy New Year everyone!!!
  1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter 1.5 quart baking dish or 8 mini cocottes dishes with butter and place on a baking sheet.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Cook potatoes for approximately 15 minutes and drain well and return to the pot or the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment.  If done in the pan a potato masher is fine.  Heat whole milk and butter and add them to the potatoes and start mashing.  Add salt and pepper.  Add Boursin cheese.  Mash the potatoes with ingredients and adjust salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet pan, add one tablespoon of unsalted butter and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the onions and the carrots for approximately 4-5 minutes.  Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add in the garlic for 30 seconds.  Crumble the lamb and add to the skillet and season the meat lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until starting to brown.
  5. Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and Guiness beer to the lamb mixture, stirring until the sauce is combined into the meat and the meat is cooked through.  Add in the chopped parsley and frozen peas and remove from the heat.
  6. Layer meat half way up.  Then top with mashed potatoes.  Place on rimmed baking sheet.
  7. Top with grated parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown top.  Broil the tops at the end if desired for extra crunch to the cheese topping.
Mashed Potatoes

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter

6 Tablespoons Boursin cheese

4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup whole milk

Salt & Pepper to taste

Lamb Mixture

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 lb ground lamb

1 12oz bottle of Guinness beer

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

8 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded

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