Traditional shepherd’s pie gets topped with a sweet and colorful mash of butternut squash and potatoes for a new twist on an old classic.
Oh hello March, nice to see you again but you sure did get here quickly.
Anyone else feel like March just ran up behind us and yelled boo?!!
Even with the extra day in February this year, I’m having a hard time adjusting to the fact that we are in the third month of the new year. Where did the time go? What have I actually accomplished in this time? Oh well! No sense in looking back now, instead I’ll look towards the next few months and what they have in store.
For starters, lots of things happening in March. We’ve got spring produce popping up and that’s enough to get excited about! Plus two great food holidays with St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Not to mention some facelifts happening over on the Bake Shop side of this website. Yes, lots of exciting and delicious things for March.
For now, let’s just talk about this butternut squash shepherd’s pie. The first go around with this recipe happened around this time last year and it was good but not perfect.
I love shepherd’s pie, it’s the perfect meal. You’ve got your meat, vegetables and potatoes all in one dish but it can sometimes be a little heavy. My thought was to make it a little better and enjoy the last of the winter squash by topping it with some butternut squash puree. The intent was there but the execution didn’t work out. Not to mention the cheeto-orange color of the squash was really off-putting.
It took a year later but I was determined to get this recipe right! It took the combination of potatoes and squash to get the perfect consistency of the topping. The mash is sweet but not cloying so and when you mix in with the beef, vegetables and gravy ends up as a perfect pairing of flavors. In fact, this was so good – a recipe that is meant to serve 4, ended up gobbled up in no time by the two of us. That’s the truth folks, so you may want to end up doubling this up!
3 large yukon gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cubed
1 medium butternut squash or 12 ounces of frozen butternut squash puree
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the filling:
1lb ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef stock
3/4 cup sweet peas (frozen are fine)
Place the potatoes in a large stockpot and fill with salted water until it covers the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
If using a butternut squash, cut in half, scrape out the seeds and roast at 400 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down until the squash is tender about 40-50 minutes (this can be done ahead of time) and then scrape the squash out from the peel once cool enough to handle. If using frozen puree, cook according to the packages directions.
Once you have your squash puree, place in a bowl with the boiled potatoes and mash until smooth. Add the butter, heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, drizzle some avocado or grapeseed oil and saute the onions for 2-3 minutes until they start to sweat, then add the carrots. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds and add the beef. Break up the beef in small pieces with a wooden spoon and season well with salt and pepper. Cook the beef until it's browned and no longer pink throughout. If there's a lot of excess grease in the pan, carefully drain and then return to the heat.
Stir in the thyme, oregano, worcestershire sauce and flour. Pour in the beef stock and bring up to a simmer. The stock should start to thicken immediately. Let simmer for about 6-8 minutes and then stir in the peas to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Transfer the filling to a casserole dish and top with the mash.
Place in a 350 degree oven and heat through for about 10 minutes before serving.