Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie

Old-style pubs have it right: Sitting down to a generous helping of shepherd's pie is a true pleasure; making it is happily simple. We've added sharp cheddar to our mashed potatoes for a snappy topping. Prep: 30 mins Total Time: 1 hour Servings: 8
Adapted from marthastewart.com

PREP TIME

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minutes

TOTAL TIME

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minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

PREP TIME

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minutes

TOTAL TIME

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minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

Adapted from marthastewart.com

Ingredients

  • 2

    pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and thinly sliced

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1

    tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower

  • 6

    medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced

  • 6

    celery stalks, thinly sliced

  • 1

    large onion, chopped

  • 1/2

    teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4

    cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4

    cup tomato paste

  • 2

    pounds ground beef chuck

  • 1

    cup whole milk

  • 1 1/2

    cups shredded sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. Set beef filling aside.  3. Drain potatoes; return to pan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season cheddar-potato topping with salt and pepper. 4. Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula. Using a fork, make decorative peaks; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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