Shepherd's Pie

To end Joel's birthday weekend, I decided to make him one of his favorite meals, shepherd's pie. I found this recipe on The Crepes of Wrath and decided to give it a try. He liked it! I had never really had it before but it wasn't too bad! I'd make it again.

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Ground Lamb (I used ground beef)
1 Onion, diced
3/4 cups Carrots, diced (about 2 large carrots)
5 Celery Stalks, diced
1/2 cup White Wine
1 can (28 ounces) Diced Tomatoes, with juices
1/ 1/2 cups Beef Stock
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 cup Frozen Peas

1.5 pounds Potatoes, cubed
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
3 tablespoons Buttermilk or Milk (I used half and half)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Over medium-high heat, cook the meat until it is no longer pink. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and put it into a separate bowl. If needed, heat a bit more olive oil in the pot then add onion, carrots, and celery. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover and add the wine, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, garlic, oregano, and thyme. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the meat, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the mixture to simmer covered for about 30 minutes, then uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced significantly. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Place potatoes in water and bring to a boil, allowing to boil for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and mash together with the butter, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

When meat mixture is reduced, add peas and stir. Remove from heat. Spoon mixture into a casserole dish or individual ramekins. Spoon the potatoes on top and sprinkle a little extra Parmesan cheese and paprika on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes if you used a casserole dish or bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes if you used ramekins (this is what I used). *Just before taking the dishes out of the oven, allow them to broil for 2 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.