It makes me so happy when leftovers become the star of a new dish. That’s what you’re looking at right here: the second life of a big pile of potatoes. For some reason, we did not eat the ten pounds I had anticipated when I made salmon and garlic mashed potatoes the other night. So when I was batch cooking all that hamburger Wednesday, and I opened the fridge and saw that mound of potatoes staring accusingly at me, the two came together in a serendipitously chocolate-meets-peanut butter way.
You’re probably thinking this looks/sounds a lot like Shepherd’s Pie. But you would be wrong about that. And that’s appropriate, because Shepherd’s Pie is just plain wrong. True SP contains lamb. Lamb. As in “the animal the shepherd is supposed to be guarding.” Poor lambs.
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 lbs hamburger
- 1 cup onions, chopped fine
- 2 large carrots, chopped or grated fine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 cans corn, depending on the size of your dish
- 1 small package frozen peas
- salt and pepper
For the gravy:
- 3 TBSP butter
- 3 TBSP flour
- beef broth OR 1 large scoop “Better Than Bouillon” in a big mug of hot water
For the topping:
- cheese … a lot
- 8-10 potatoes, peeled and cut in equal pieces
- 1/2 cube butter
- 3 oz cream cheese
- dash of half-n-half or milk
- garlic powder and salt OR garlic salt
If you don’t have mashed potatoes to start with, put prepared potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and check occasionally to see when they’re soft enough to mash.
While the potatoes are boiling, cook the hamburger with the onion and carrots, stirring to break into manageable clumps. When nearly cooked, drain off visible grease and add the minced garlic, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Cook another five minutes or until hamburger is cooked through and garlic is fragrant. Scoop into a casserole dish.
Next, make the gravy. This is so simple you’ll wonder why you’re not eating gravy three times a day.
In a saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour and stir for several minutes to brown up the flour a bit.
If you have a can of beef broth, slowly pour that into the roux (which is a combination of equal parts of any fat and flour) until it reaches a consistency you like. You’ll probably need to salt and pepper the gravy if you’re using beef broth.
If you’re using “Better Than Bouillon,” however, you won’t need more salt. Probably. Just fill a big mug with hot water (some of the water that your potatoes are cooking in would be best, if they’ve been cooking for awhile), stir in a scoop of bouillon, and slowly pour this into the roux.
Now pour your gravy over the hamburger mixture …
… and stir well.
Add your corn and peas.
When the potatoes are tender, drain the water, transfer the potatoes to a mixer, and mash along with the butter and cream cheese. If needed, add a dash of half-n-half to get it to a consistency you like. Season liberally with garlic powder and salt (or garlic salt).
Sprinkle the top of the casserole with cheese …
… then top with mashed potatoes. After you’ve spread it evenly over the top, take a fork and kind of boing through the potatoes so you get a bunch of sticky-uppy peaks across the top. You know what I mean.
Sprinkle with a little paprika (just for looks) and bake 40-45 minutes or until you can’t stand the suspense any longer.
I would have shown you a nice sectional-piece, but it disappeared too fast. I guess you’ll have to look at this one more time instead: