Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shepherd's Pie 2.0

I know. We've all made Shepherd's Pie. I've made it and talked about it, probably more than once. However, I thought I would try something new tonight. We had all the ingredients except beef, but we had buffalo! I love ground buffalo in place of ground beef. It has so much more natural flavour and spice to it. Plus its way leaner.

I honestly just googled Shepherd's Pie and this was obviously the most interesting one that popped up. I did change it a little, mostly because that's what I do. But I like to think the ways that I changed it, probably cut the calories and fat a bit more and "beefed it up", sort of. I've linked to the original recipe (as always), but am putting how I made it below. The directions are a little more in depth than usual, but its a bit more in depth for a recipe! I basically added more vegetables, less meat and changed the "fat" in the potatoes. Not huge changes, but good ones!

Shepherd's Pie
(Adapted Slightly from Here)


1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound ground buffalo
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low sodium beef stock (Kitchen Basics)
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon summer savory
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Franks Thick (or hot sauce)
salt and pepper

Mashed Potato Topping

6 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
2 teaspoons salt, plus salt to taste
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup non fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk (any milk fine, may need less)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese


  1. Start the potatoes for the topping. Put them in a large pot with enough water to cover them by a couple of inches, I used a large pasta strainer pot. Add about 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, over high heat. Cook them for 10 to 13 minutes after boiling uncovered. Meanwhile, make the meat filling.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet or braiser over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, garlic and celery in the butter, stirring often, for about 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the ground buffalo to the pan and break it up with a spoon as it browns. Remove the skillet from the stove and, resting it on a heatproof surface so it won't feel so heavy, tilt the pan so that the excess fat runs to the side. Carefully spoon out the fat and discard it (this will make the dish leaner and healthier, as well as lighter tasting). With buffalo there wasn't much to drain, but it will make a difference. There will also be a bit of "water" from the vegetables.
  4. Put the skillet back on the burner and set the heat to medium low. Stir the flour into the beef mixture. Stir in the beef broth, then the canned tomatoes, then the herbs, frozen corn, frozen peas, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Gently simmer the mixture for several minutes, partially covered, then add salt (1/4 teaspoon, give or take a little) and pepper to taste. I made this in a cast iron braiser that can go from the stove to oven. If you don't, transfer the mixture to a large buttered casserole type dish. Set the oven to 400°, and while it heats, check to see if your boiling potatoes are done.
  6. To test the potatoes, use a slotted spoon to transfer a cube from the water to a cutting board and allow it to cool for 30 seconds or so. If you can slice through the chunk easily with a butter knife, the potatoes are done.
  7. Set a large colander in the sink and drain the potatoes in it if you don't have a strainer pasta pot. Transfer the drained potatoes to a large mixing bowl and scatter the butter pieces over them. Spoon the greek yogurt over the hot potatoes as well. Wait a few minutes for the butter to melt and the greek yogurt to warm so the ingredients will be easier to blend, then partially mash the potatoes with a hand masher. Mix in about 3/4 of the cheese into the potatoes while mashing.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then sprinkle on some paprika. Bake the pie on the center oven rack for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cool for several minutes before serving. My pot may have been a little small, but the gravy mixture in the pan has a tendency to boil over in the oven. If this happens, next time you turn your oven on over 400º, it will probably light on fire. So I put a baking sheet on the rack under the dish to keep the drippings off the bottom of the oven.

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