shepherd’s pie

I don’t think I’m betraying any confidences by telling you that, in my family, we have a running joke about my dad.  It goes something like this: “Dad won’t try something for years, and then when he finally gives in, he acts like he’s always been its number one fan.”  Well, apparently some tendencies get passed down from generation to generation, because I am clearly having a “Dad” moment.  I have always been staunchly against anything amaretto, citing its weird after taste and general yuckiness (I’d like to note that, until recently, my only exposure to the stuff was through weird flavored syrups in my coffee).  But then I tried the top shelf bottle of amaretto my brother and sister-in-law bought for Nate for his birthday.  My GOD that stuff is good.  And addictive.  And now I can’t stop extolling the qualities of good amaretto (especially on the rocks).  Santa help me.

What does this have to do with Shepherd’s Pie?  Well, nothing really, except that amaretto tastes AMAZING with anything, including this tasty dish.  But in all seriousness now, I adore this recipe.  It’s straightforward, with accessible ingredients and simple steps, but leaves you with a dinner laced with flavor and hominess and general contentment.  What’s more, it will make you forget those aching feet after a long day of holiday shopping (oh yes my friends, ’tis the season yet again!).  So make this dish, eat it with the one(s) you love, and don’t forget the glass of amaretto.

Shepherd’s Pie

1 22-oz package frozen mashed potatoes

1 lb ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup frozen sliced carrot, thawed

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 cup beef broth

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook potatoes according to package directions.  Set aside.

2. Cook beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink.

3. Drain and return to skillet.  Add carrot.  Stir in flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Add broth, and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11×7-inch baking dish (I always just use a 13×9).

4. Stir together potatoes, egg, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Spoon over beef mixture.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.

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