I was first introduced to Shepard's Pie at the Southern California Renaissance Faire when I was a young girl, probably 10 or 11 years old, and loved it! It is the ultimate combination of meat and potatoes. Eventually, I took what I remembered of that Shepherd's Pie to come up with my own recipe. I usually call this dish a Shepherd's Pie but, if I were to stick to tradition, it is technically a Cottage Pie because it is made with beef. Shepherd's Pie is traditionally made with mutton/lamb. Though whether I call it Cottage Pie or Shepherd's Pie, this is one of my favorite fall/winter comfort foods, although I make it all year-round.
Just as a side note... the Cottage Pie in the photos did not have butter added to the top of the mashed potatoes.
Peel potatoes, then steam or boil potatoes until soft. Mash with unsalted butter and sour cream. Set aside. (You can also just wash them and then mash with skin on.)
In a big/wide pot, sauté chopped onions and chopped celery in olive oil on med. or med.-high heat until translucent and slightly brown.
Add mushrooms and chopped/crushed garlic and cook until released water from mushrooms just starts to evaporate (but don’t wait for all of it to).
Add the ground beef and, using a sturdy spatula, cut into meat while mixing into onion and mushroom mixture.
Add Worcestershire sauce and continue mixing until ground beef is broken up into very small pieces. Turn off heat.
Add black pepper, salt, and frozen peas and carrots, and mix in.
**You can substitute Fuju persimmon or butternut squash in place of carrots (then all you need is frozen peas). I've tried both and both have been delicious!**
Spread meat filling evenly in a large casserole dish, then evenly spread mashed potatoes on top. Add butter to the mashed potato top, but be careful...if the casserole dish is overly full, the butter may end up dripping onto the floor of the oven.
Broil Cottage Pie in the oven until the mashed potato top starts to brown.
Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.