I have to admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of shepherd’s pie until a few years ago. It always seemed like one of those weird, bland casserole type dishes that was created from random leftovers…definitely not appealing! However, I remember trying it at a local restaurant and their variety was wonderfully seasoned and contained caramelized bacon and it completely changed my opinion! I don’t remember what other ingredients they used exactly – this was at least 6-7 years ago – but with some input from my husband, I came up with a really flavorful pie that all three of us loved. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef
  • 8 slices bacon
  • scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 large carrots
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon basil
  • fresh thyme (1/2 – 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Cut the bacon slices into bite-sized pieces and add to a large pan on medium heat. Add the brown sugar to the pan, stir well, and cook the bacon thoroughly. Dice the onions and mince the garlic, and add both to the pan of bacon and cook until the onions are translucent. While waiting, brown the beef in a pan over medium heat. When the beef is cooked thoroughly, add it to the pan of bacon, onions, and garlic. Add the beef stock and turn the heat up to bring it to a simmer. Add the parsley, rosemary, basil, and thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Dice one potato and the carrots, and add them to the pan of beef. In another pot, bring water to a boil and add the remaining three potatoes, cubed, boiling until tender (about 10 minutes). When the potatoes are ready, drain the water, add the milk and butter to the pot, and mash the potatoes with a hand mixer. When most of the stock has been absorbed in the pan of beef, spread the meat and veggie mixture on the bottom of a glass baking dish (spray with a light coat of non-stick spray first). Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and if you’d like, place the dish under the broiler on high for 5-6 minutes for golden potatoes.