This past week my boyfriend made a request for a dinner of the infamous Shepherd’s Pie. The shepherd’s pies that I have grown up with in the states were comprised of a pie crust and then filled with potatoes, corn, peas, sometimes other veggies, and of course some sort of meat. I have to admit I am not a very big fan of these pies and frankly have only tried it once. I tentatively replied to his request, "so basically you want me to make you a pie with some meat and veggies in it??" He looked at me with disgust and stated that that is not a "true" shepherd’s pie. At this point I believe that he was actually very insulted with my idea of a shepherd’s pie. He quickly went into an explanation of what consists of shepherd’s pie and that our shepherd's pie is more similar to their meat pie, which is a pie originally made of meat from a bird that is now extinct in Quebec, thanks to all those lovers of meat pie. He also informed me that a correctly made shepherd’s pie has only three ingredients, mashed potatoes, corn, and meat. If it has anything else besides those 3 essential ingredients, it just simply isn't a real shepherd’s pie. So after my very informative class of shepherd’s pie 101, I began my search to create my own notorious Quebecois shepherd’s pie.
I was very skeptical on the evening that I created this dish as to whether or not I would truly enjoy this meal. After a touch of research, I was ready to begin. The meal itself took very little time to create, since there are very few ingredients. However, don't let the limited number of ingredients deter you from this meal. It turned out simply fantastic. It was one of the most comforting meals I have had in a long time. Simple and warm and covered in ketchup, you really can't go wrong. Not to mention my boyfriend was proud of my Quebecois cooking skills and stated that it was just like his mother's! Now that is a compliment. So for those in need of a simple, warm meal on a cold winter night, just turn to this shepherd’s pie recipe.
Quebecois Style Shepherd’s Pie
~1lb ground beef
~1 med. yellow onion
~2 cloves garlic, minced
~salt and pepper
~5 med. size Yukon gold potatoes peeled( you want enough for about 4 cups mashed potatoes)
~1 400g can of corn
Preheat oven to 350 F. Boil water in a big soup pot. Peel and cut potatoes into 3x3 inch chunks. Add chunks of potatoes once water is boiling. Cook potatoes until they are soft and are easily broken apart, approximately 5-10 minutes. While Potatoes cook, brown the beef with the onions. When beef is almost done, add in minced garlic. Continue cooking until grease is almost gone. If there is an excess of grease in pan, drain beef. Place beef in bottom of glass casserole dish. Pour potatoes and water into a strainer. Then place potatoes into a big bowl. Add 4 tbs butter to the middle and let sit until almost melted. Then add a splash of milk. Mix potatoes together with either an electric mixer or potato masher. Continue to add milk while mixing potatoes, but only add about 1-2 tbs at a time. You will want potatoes mashed into a creamy consistency, but not soupy. At the end add salt and pepper to taste. Drain corn and add layer of corn onto the beef. Then spoon in mash potatoes creating a layer on top of beef and corn. Place in oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes barely start to brown on top. Serve with either gravy or a good helping of ketchup.