This is one of my go-to meals when we have a busy afternoon, or when I have several people coming in at different times for dinner. Sometimes after-school activities or work obligations make it impossible to have dinner together.
We do what we can to gather around the dinner table, but I don’t have to tell you that life sometimes gets in the way. I also like this old-fashioned dish when I’m taking a meal to a friend who’s recovering from an illness or suffered a loss. You can find more recipes like this in my Make and Take Meals cookbook.
You can easily put everything together earlier in the day, cover it and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it up. Ground lamb is wonderful in this shepherd pie and certainly more traditional, but to tell you the truth, I usually use lean ground beef because that’s what I have on hand.
2 pounds ground lamb (or lean ground beef)
2 1/2 cups onions, chopped
3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 small bag frozen peas and carrots
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
Preheat your oven to 400°. Spray a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
In a large skillet, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring until translucent, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add water, cover and cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently so as not to stick. Remove the lid, turn up to medium heat and stir. Continue cooking until water is completely evaporated and the onion is golden brown. Remove from the pan, set aside.
In the same skillet, add remaining olive oil and heat over medium heat. Brown ground lamb until no longer pink, drain. Add beef stock, onion mixture, parsley, pepper, thyme, stir to combine. Add frozen peas and carrots, mix well. Add flour, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring, until flour is absorbed and mixture thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes. You can adjust the thickness of the gravy to your taste, adding more stock to thin it out or a little flour to
thicken more. Pour into a greased baking dish. Evenly spread out mashed potatoes over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown. Cover with foil if potatoes brown too quickly. Serve immediately.