When I first wrote about Colin's grandmother's "Party Potatoes" a few years ago, it was without much expectation. It's true that they really are the most amazing mashed potatoes I've ever eaten, but how many times has someone said that? Potatoes, dairy, more dairy and butter (What?! Butter is its own food group, you know.) -- "There must be a dozen similar recipes," I thought.
Evidently not. Na's potatoes have developed a nearly cult-like following amongst my friends and family since I've made them for every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, whether we were hosting or not. This year, in fact, there were no fewer than half a dozen Tweets and emails exchanged about them. Don't believe me? Check it out:
The only problem with them, really, is the leftovers. By the time we've polished off the other leftovers, we usually have at least a serving or two of Party Potatoes left. This year, I finally figured out the best way to use them, and I'd be a jerk not to share my new Shepherd's Pie recipe with you.
Nannie's Shepherd's Pie
- 1 large onion (or 2 medium onions), chopped
- 1 c. carrot, chopped
- 2 T dark beer
- 1.5 lbs lamb sirloin or lamb chuck, minced fine*
- 5 ounces beef chuck, minced fine*
- 2.5 T Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
- 1.5 T tomato paste
- 1 c. peas (frozen is fine)
- 1 t garlic powder
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1.5 - 2 c. Nannie's Party Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pan, brown half the onions and all the carrots in a bit of vegetable oil. Allow them to char a bit. Remove to a bowl.
- Sweat the remaining onions lightly in the beer, allowing the alcohol to cook off. Remove to the bowl.
- Brown the lamb and beef in the same pan, seasoning with the Worcestershire, salt & pepper. Make sure the meat doesn't "steam" by browning everything in small batches. Remove each batch to the bowl with the onions & carrots.
- In the same bowl, mix in the tomato paste, any leftover Worcestershire, and the frozen peas.
- In a casserole or baking dish, layer the meat-vegetable mixture, sprinkle with garlic powder, a bit more pepper, and finally the potatoes.
- Bake, covered, for 25-30 minutes. Serve.
* I used my Cuisinart to mince the meat after trimming it of most of the fat. I prefer this method to buying ground lamb as I think it cuts down on the gaminess, which is why I also add a bit of beef to round out the flavor.