How to make shepherd's pie in a slow cooker

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It’s hard to imagine a combination more comforting than meaty stew and mashed potatoes. Shepherd’s pie, also called cottage pie, is a classic British dish with a history that spans three centuries. Originally designed as a way to use up leftovers, the dish is rather time-consuming if constructed from scratch. Making the dish in the slow cooker streamlines the process, transforming a usually fussy meal into a weeknight wonder.
Like most classic dishes, shepherd’s pie has lots of variations. Some versions are made with lamb, others with beef. Vegetables may be a simple combination of peas and carrots or more extravagant array including corn, mushrooms, or turnips. Sometimes the sauce is tomato based, but I prefer it simple and savory, like a gravy. My version keeps it economical with ground beef while adding fresh herbs for a decadent flavor.
Shepherd's Pie
30 minutes
4 hours
6 hours, 10 minutes
2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 cup onion, small diced
2 pounds ground beef
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups carrots, small diced
1 cup green peas fresh or frozen
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
Add potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large pot. Fill with water and boil potatoes until cooked all the way through. Be sure not to overcook potatoes, they should not be falling apart in water.
While potatoes are boiling put a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add in oil. When oil becomes hot add in onions, ground beef, bay leaf, pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Brown beef until fully cooked then drain any excess grease and remove bay leafs.
Add beef into a 6 quart slow cooker.
Make a slurry by combining cornstarch and water. Mix well until there are no lumps. Add slurry into slow cooker along with tomato paste, Worcestershire, carrots and peas.
Drain potatoes then transfer into a large bowl. Add in 1 teaspoon salt, sour cream, butter and parsley. Mash everything together with a potato masher or 2 forks. Mix well so that everything is evenly combined.
Evenly spread mashed potatoes on top of ground beef in slow cooker.
Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7.
Remove pot from slow cooker base and allow to cool and set for 15 minutes then serve!
Pro tip: This recipe works well with other ground meats and starchy vegetables. Try substituting the ground beef with turkey or lamb, and replace the potatoes with parsnips or sweet potatoes.
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