My friend Erin is leaving to visit her family for Thanksgiving tomorrow, so I decided to make a simple dinner and have her and our other friends, Yusuke and Biljana joined us for a round of food, wine and men-bashing session before she leaves.
I am an advocate of one-dish meals... they are convenient and healthy for the most part. I usually make this Shepherd's Pie for St. Patrick's Day dinner, easy enough for me to prepare even in my drunkenness.
For the Beef Filling
3 lbs of beef
1 onion, minced
1 bottle dark (Irish) beer
1 tbsp. beef bouillon
salt and pepper
1 bag frozen vegetable medley (the one with carrots and peas and corn and green beans)
For the Mashed Potatoes
2 lb red potatoes, quartered, leave skin on
1 1/2 cups milk (or substitute half of it with cream)
3 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp of butter
Brown beef, add onions until softened, then add bouillon, salt & pepper to taste. Add beer, bring to boil and simmer until reduced. Stir in the veggies and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a casserole dish.
Boil potatoes and garlic in water and a tbsp of salt for 15 minutes (time it 15 minutes when it starts boiling). 10 minutes to boiling the potatoes, heat milk, cream if using and butter in a saucepan. WARM the milk mixture, but do not boil. Drain the potatoes and garlic. Peel the garlic and throw in with the potatoes. Mash them, incorporating the warm milk mixture as you do, adding salt and pepper to taste. Top the beef filling with the mashed potato.
Bake for 40 minutes on 350 F oven, then at 400 F for another 10 minutes to brown it.