Serious Eats: Recipes

Classic Cookbooks: Shepherd's Pie

As JerzeeTomato pointed out last week, chicken divan is a great way to use leftovers. Joy of Cooking is chock-full of wonderful ideas about what to do with the remains of last night’s dinner; I just wish that in my house dinner stuck around for day two more often. One of my dreams is to get my kitchen running such that I always have a cold roast in the refrigerator—chicken, beef, anything I can make into sandwiches or otherwise quickly transform into a delicious second-day dish. Though many people seem to arrive at this cozy and satisfying state of affairs without even trying, my horror of wasting food or watching it spoil makes it difficult for me to roast lavishly. So when I want to make classics of the leftover genre, such as shepherd’s pie, I do the whole thing from scratch (which, honestly, is never that much more difficult).

The Joy recipe for shepherd’s pie is straightforward, yummy, and an exceedingly satisfying thing to cook on a winter evening (although the perils of cooking with a freshly-made bowl of mashed potatoes at one’s side will be obvious; I was lucky to have enough left to top the pie). I know many of you will scoff at the idea of using a recipe for something as simple as meat with a topping of mashed potatoes, but I am an absurdly authority-oriented person and always follow a recipe the first time I make something. Sprinkling the meat with flour and then simmering it with stock would not have occurred to me, but it yielded the best shepherd’s pie I’ve ever had. Oh, and since I used ground beef, my dish was technically “cottage pie.” Whatever it was called, two of us could have wolfed down all four servings had we not shown such saintly restraint. I might make a double batch of this next time.

About the author: Robin Bellinger recently escaped a career in book publishing, which was really cutting into her cooking time. Now she is a freelance editor and can bake bread on Tuesday afternoon if she feels like it. She lives in midtown Manhattan with her husband and blogs about cooking and crafting at home*economics.

Shepherd's Pie

Adapted from Joy of Cooking

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