Last week Maura emailed and asked if I had a crockpot shepherd's pie recipe. I didn't. I didn't even have a regular shepherd's pie recipe, and actually wasn't too clear on what went into one.
She sent me a base recipe, and I made it the other night in the crockpot. I also made a box of macaroni and cheese (Annie's gluten free, in the bright blue box) for the kids---just in case.
They ate the mac and cheese, but the stars must have been in a funky alignment because they also each ate a bowl of the shepherd's pie.
I was astonished.
--3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
--1 lb ground turkey or beef
--2 cloves garlic, chopped
--2 cups frozen vegetables (I used roasted corn and peas)
--1 medium onion, chopped finely, or 1 T onion flakes
--1/2 tsp seasoned salt
--1/2 tsp onion powder
--1/4 tsp black pepper
--1/4 tsp paprika (then a bit more for garnish)
--1 cup water
--2 cups shredded cheese
I used a 4 quart crockpot---it was the perfect size. A larger will work, but it will cook faster.
Brown the meat and onion on the stove, and drain any fat. Toss the meat with the spices and garlic---I didn't but next time I'd probably put the garlic and spices in with the meat in the frying pan, it would be easier.
Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray. Put the meat in the crockpot and stir in the frozen vegetables, and a cup of water. Add two cups of cheese on top. Press the mashed potatoes down on top of the cheese and meat. Sprinkle with a bit of paprika.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for about 3, then remove the lid and cook on high for 30 minutes to release the condensation and allow the potatoes to brown a bit on top. Everything is cooked already, so you're really just allowing the flavors to meld and the potatoes to crustify.
Someone will ask about using raw meat. I'm sure it will work, but I have a swimming-in-fat-and-grease phobia, so I didn't do it. If you are going to try, I'd cut the water down to 1/2 a cup and remember that the potatoes might not get the type of crust you are looking for unless you vent the crockpot with a chopstick or wooden spoon.
I will make this again. I loved it that all of us ate the same thing at the table, and the kids really enjoyed the meat and potatoes.
Thank you, Maura!