Turn the traditional Shepherd’s Pie into an everyday weeknight meal with the great Southwest taco flavor of tender ground beef and a kick of jalapenos.
I had to laugh when I read my friend Barbara’s Shepherd’s Pie post on her Pressure Cooking Today website. She said her husband’s response to her beautiful, potatoes piped on the top with a pastry bag, lamb Shepherd’s Pie was, “Do we like lamb?” I could just hear that exact phrase coming out of my own husband’s mouth. In fact, that is why I have always taken a pass on making the dish, even though it is so much fun on St. Paddy’s Day and a fun English “Pub-Grub.” He is just “not that into” lamb.
Looking at Barbara’s gorgeous dish did inspire me to get in the spirit this year and stop being such a “party-pooper” over a little bit of lamb. I decided to put may own spin on the Shepherd’s Pie instead and take it out of the “once a year on St. Paddy’s Day time warp” by making it a Southwest Taco Shepherd’s Pie, instead.
It really was a big hit with my family. The taco flavorings were a natural with the beef and potatoes, I don’t know why I didn’t try it before! Now, if I can only get my husband to stop saying, “Do we like mashed potatoes?”
Here are some tips for making the Southwest Shepherd’s Pie a fast and easy weeknight meal:
- You can always use leftover mashed potatoes. They will get a little dry in the oven so, lighten them up by mixing in a little milk or cream before spreading over the pie.
- Make the filling while the potatoes are boiling.
- Make the pie filling ahead. Assemble the filling and the potatoes just before baking. You will need to bake a little longer for cold, “out of the refrigerator” pie.
- If you have “picky eaters,” layer the ingredients on half of the pie. My kids would never eat corn (they are boys… don’t ask) so, I quickly sauted the corn and jalapenos separately and placed on half of the pie. Problem solved.
- Use a pre-packaged taco seasoning to save all the time of measuring out 5 or 6 different spices
- Use store bought pico de gallo for the tomato, onion mixture to save on “chopping time.”
- Garnish with any Southwest ingredients your family loves.
Ok, I did get a little carried away with the green onions… it was St. Paddy’s Day after all… you can leave them off if you would like or just reduce them to a reasonable amount. I won’t mind a bit.
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—posted by Sandy
- 2 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup sour cream
- salt and peper to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning
- ½ cup vegetable or beef stock (water may be used)
- 4 small tomatoes, diced (may use canned)
- 1 cup of corn kernels
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 green onions, diced (for garnish, optional)
- Peel potatoes and chop into 1 inch cubes. Place cubes in a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until fork tender. Drain well.
- Whip or mash the potatoes and add the butter, sour cream and half of the milk. Drizzle in enough of the remaining milk to get a moist, creamy mashed potato but, feel free to leave some out so they don't become to runny.
- While the potatoes are boiling, add the oil to a large skillet and heat on medium high. Saute the onion and jalapeno until the onion is golden brown (about 2-4 minutes). Add the ground beef and saute until brown. Break up the beef into small pieces as it browns.
- When the beef is almost ready, add the garlic and combine well.
- Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the beef and add the water or stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Cook until the beef is tender and the liquid has reduced. Add the tomatoes and corn and saute until softened at this stage unless you have picky eaters.
- Tip for picky eaters: Spread the beef and onion mixture into a 10 inch pie plate,
- Return the pan to the heat. Add a touch of oil and lightly saute the corn and tomatoes pressing out the juices as they cook ( you may add the jalapenos to this mixture, as well). Pour the tomato and corn mixture over the beef and spread on only half of the pie. This way, your picky eaters will not have the corn or the tomatoes to worry about.
- Cover the pie with the creamy mashed potatoes and bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown.
- Just before removing the pie from the oven, sprinkle with grated cheese and melt the cheese.
- Let the pie cool slightly before serving. Garnish with green onions, if desired.