Shepard’s pie was a staple growing up. In fact while some would claim macaroni and cheese as their childhood comfort food, I would actually say this was my favorite childhood comfort food. And still is today. And of course the school lunch program had it at least once a week.
If you are not familiar with “shepard’s pie” perhaps you would recognize it by some of its other names; “Chinese pie” or “cottage pie.”
Whatever you call it there are basic characterizations: meat on the bottom, veggie in the middle and mashed potato topping. A fine casserole indeed.
You can read a cute blog entry about it here and also there is a good classic recipe shown as well. (Although I never put peas in mine and never eat it with ketchup.)
The other night I made this classic with a twist.
In true cabinet stew mentality I was using up what I had in the fridge, freezer and cabinets. So that turned out to be some Italian “pepper and onions” sausage, frozen spinach and potatoes.
I baked the potatoes in the morning while I was doing other things so I could just peel and mash later. Easy and I hate peeling and boiling potatoes for mashed!
Although I took the spinach out and let it sit to defrost in a strainer earlier in the day, I didn’t really make too much effort there. A good mash with a spoon before I used it to get some of the water out.
When dinner time came around all I did was slip the sausage out of their casing and brown them in a pan. They already had tons of seasoning and fat so that was easy too.
Layer the browned, crumbled sausage down first. Mix the spinach with a little salt, pepper, grated nutmeg and grated Romano (just because I am a cheese freak) and layer that on top of the meat. Then I mashed my potatoes with melted butter, warm milk , salt and pepper and layered that on top. A dusting of paprika (traditional) and more grated Romano. (not as traditional)
30 mins in a 350 degree oven and we had a quick, delicious, classic casserole with a twist or maybe just a cabinet stew!