1950's and 60's meals, memories and trivia

Mom’s Shephard’s Pie

on March 8, 2012

As promised yesterday, I am posting my mom’s shephard’s Pie recipe. I decided to do some research on this dish. It was quite interesting and has as many variations than stew or chili. Every family appears to have their own idea of what shepherd’s pie should be. I never thought my mom’s was very authentic, but she nailed it. It is considered a “layer of meat, then a layer of vegetables, topped with creamy mashed potatoes.” That is exactly what this recipe contains.  It just goes to show you,, “Mother knows Best!” Thanks Mom!

1st layer - meat

Shephard’s Pie was first created in the mid- 19th century, in England. It was a take on meat pies, which were enclosed in a pie crust. Essentially, Shephaerd’s pie is a meat pie without the crust! American women became enamored of it 100 years later. With all the conveniences of the middle of the 20th century, it was a quick, inexpensive alternative to stew. Also, the mid-century was the heyday of casserole. This fits nicely into that catagory.

Shepherd’s Pie has many variations. Originally, the meat used was lamb. American cooks use ground beef far more often. Technically, the 2nd layer - veggiesname changes to “Cottage Pie” when beef is used. The meat is cooked in advance to speed up cooking time. The second layer, vegetables, can really be any veggie of your choice. I was raised with green beans, (canned, of course) but a half cup of corn added to the beans would sweeten up the dish. Carrots, peas, onions…almost any vegetable you’d like to use will work. The topping still needs to be some form of mashed potatoes. American cooks began adding tomato sauce, gravy, etc., to moisten up the dish. This is also a wonderful way to use up leftovers. You can use pot roast, steak, sausage, added to whatever veggie you had the night before, and then potatoes. How about left over Thanksgiving dinner. Bottom layer of turkey, turkey-day veggies, left-over gravy poured over that with a layer of mashed sweet potatoes. Yum!

My siblings and I loved this dish, but I remember my mom making it when dad wasn’t coming home for dinner that night. He hated green beans. Now I realize that she could have put anything she wanted in there with or in place of the beans. Was there a method to her madness????

3rd layer - sauce/gravy

Shepherd’s Pie

 1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained

1- 15oz. can green beans

1- 10.5 oz. can tomato soup, undiluted

2 tsp. garlic powder

Pinch of pepper

1 package mashed potato buds, prepared

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ground beef and green beans in a mixing bowl. Add tomato soup, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour into a casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes until all ingredients are hot. Remove from oven and dot the potatoes with butter. Sprinkle with paprika as garnish (optional).

Add potatoes, bake and enjoy!

Did you know???    The “Flying Saucer” & “Pluto Platter”, were renamed the “Frisbee” in 1956. The original was made from a pie tin. Yale students would yell “Frisbee!” after “The Frisbee Baking Company” in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when one was thrown, to warn other students.


3 responses to “Mom’s Shephard’s Pie

  1. […] Mom’s Shephard’s Pie (midcenturymeals.wordpress.com) You can share these posts at:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted on May 23, 2012, in Kitchen Witch Wednesday and tagged Cottage pie, gluten free food, kitchen witch wednesday, leftovers, Mashed potato, shepherds pie. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment […]

  2. Jennifer says:

    Yum! Food I love, all rolled into one meal!

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