There's something about this homey casserole, perfect for an autumn weeknight, that just makes people want to forego their table manners and dig right in to the communal dish with their forks. If you're a "from scratch" kind of person, feel free to make the mashed potato topping yourself. But we've been surprised by how good some of the premade refrigerated potatoes are. We won't tell if you don't.
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste or 2 tablespoons ketchup3/4 cup beef broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 24-ounce container refrigerated mashed potatoes (such as Bob Evans brand), or 3 to 4 cups of homemade mashed potatoes, warmed
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, and brown, breaking up with a fork or wooden spoon. Drain off all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat.
Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, stirring constantly, and cook until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste, and simmer for several minutes until the flavors are blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the peas.
Tip the mixture into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish or 10-inch pie plate. Evenly spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture with a spatula. (If you’re feeling fancy, you can pipe the potatoes on top using a pastry bag and tip, or you can make a decorative pattern in the top with a common table fork.) Dust with the grated Parmesan.
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Bake the Shepherd’s Pie for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly and the peaks on the potato and Parmesan topping begin to brown. If desired, dust the top with chopped fresh parsley. Let cool slightly before serving.