A classic shepherd's pie is always a great dinner choice. It's easy, economical and delicious, but then again, so is our revamped shepherd's pie, which seamlessly blends tradition with spicy Southwest flavours to create a tasty new twist on the original dish.
Tex-Mex shepherd's pie
3 or 4 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered or cubed
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
500 grams extra-lean ground beef
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1/3 cup diced red pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos or green chilies, finely chopped
2/3 cup corn
1-3/4 cups chunky salsa
1 to 2 cups grated cheddar, Tex-Mex or Mexican shredded cheese blend
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, and cook until tender.
Remove from heat, and drain the water from the pot. Add the milk and butter to the potatoes, and then mash the mixture until smooth and creamy.
Stir in 1 cup of grated cheese, and set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, add 1 tablespoon of oil and the ground beef to a large frying pan. Sauté over medium heat until the meat has browned and is fully cooked through, approximately 6 minutes. Stir often, and break up the meat with a spatula or spoon. Mix in the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
In a separate pan, add water or 1 tablespoon of oil, and sauté the red pepper, celery and garlic over medium heat until tender.
Add the sautéed vegetables, green onions, jalapenos, corn and salsa to the ground beef.
Pour the ground beef mixture into a medium-size casserole or baking dish. Spread the cheesy mashed potatoes evenly on top.
Sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika, and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven. Turn up the heat to 500 degrees F or to broil. Add a light layer of grated cheese to the dish, and return the pie to the oven for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and has just started to brown. Be sure to watch it carefully to prevent burning.
Depending on the size of the potatoes, this recipe should yield about 2 cups mashed before adding the cheese. While this dish has a nice balance of meat to potatoes, feel free to modify the ratio if you're using leftovers or other pre-made mashed potatoes.