Shepherd’s Pie Bento

Shepherd’s pie is the favourite meal of my two children, who lovingly call it “shep”.  So we have it for dinner OFTEN.  And these days I make a huge batch so there are leftovers for lunch.  If you’re interested, my super-easy-extra-quick shepherd’s pie recipe is at the end.

For this lunch I jazzed up the “shep” presentation a bit by putting a little grated cheese on top (reheated shepherd’s pie can look a little dry!)  The veggies are frozen peas and corn, always convenient, and carrot slices for deco.  After I made this I had a sudden inspiration.  What if I put shepherd’s pie in the freezer, in one of these little dishes, and after it was frozen, put the frozen peas and corn in with it.  I could let it defrost until lunch and then nuke it to finish off.  Might be a way of having a frozen ready meal without a rush in the morning!

I love these little glass containers.  The only thing I don’t like about them is that it is much harder to take a nice photo of a square container! Maybe it’s just because I’m an inexperienced photographer!

Shepherd’s Pie, My Way
One large chopped onion

One kilo (2 lbs) ground beef
Worcestershire sauce
Ketchup
Tomato Paste aka, tomato puree, (optional)
One kilo of peeled potatoes, cut in 2 cm (0ne inch) cubes.
A knob of butter
a good splash of milk

Put lightly salted water on to boil.  Add potato pieces to boiling water and cook for about 2o minutes, until tender all the way through.  While they’re cooking start on the beef:
Fry the chopped onion in a little oil until it’s translucent and softened.  Add the ground beef and break it up as it cooks and browns, cook until it’s lightly brown all over.  Add a generous tablespoonful of worcestershire sauce.  Add a large quantity of ketchup.  I’m serious!  At least 3/4 of a cup.  I use an organic ketchup most of the time, one with lots of flavour. Add a little water, just to make it a bit soupy.  Give it a good grinding of pepper.  Taste it for flavour.  The beef should be reddish, saucey, a little tangy, and have lots of flavour.  If you feel it needs more, add another spoon of worcestershire, and a bit more ketchup.  If you are running out of ketchup (this happens to me all the time) you can replace some or all of the ketchup with tomato paste (you should only need a few tablespoons, but go by how it tastes).  If you use tomato paste you will need extra worcestershire, and salt.  When you’re satisfied, spoon the beef into a rectangular casserole dish.

Thoroughly drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pan, letting any extra moisture boil off.  Mash the potatoes thoroughly until no lumps remain, then mash in the butter, and work in enough milk to make a mash that holds its shape but will drop off the spoon.  Season with salt.  Spoon blobs of potato over the beef and smooth the top.  Use a spoon to rough up the surface a little, making little “peaks”, for the traditional “shep” finish.  Dot with butter and bake in a preheated 180 degree (350 fahrenheit) oven until the top is tinged with golden (about half an hour).  This makes enough shepherd’s pie for six people.  I usually use 1.5 kilos of beef so I have leftovers.

No doubt you’ve cottoned on by now that I cook more by method and taste than by measure!   Enjoy!

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