Braised Beef Shepherd’s Pie

Braised Beef Shepherd's Pie

There’s just one way to make beef stew even better.

Top it with cheesy mashed potatoes and bake it in the oven! {Duh}

This basically gives you an up-leveled Shepherd’s pie situation:

  • Instead of the typical ground beef filling, you’ve got tender chunks of red wine braised beef and vegetables.
  • Rather than just a basic mashed potato topping, we’ve also added a layer of gooey cheese!

This decadent pot of goodness is a great way to feed a crowd. It’s super flavorful and rich, and serves up to 8 people at once.

The process for making shepherd’s pie is pretty straightforward:

  • Start by browning some meat and bacon to build smoky caramelized flavor.
  • Then soften some aromatic vegetables and herbs.
  • Stir in a little flour to help the stew thicken.
  • Then add the meat back to the pot along with red wine, beef broth, and seasonings.
  • Let the stew simmer for about 2 and a half hours, or until the meat can easily be shredded with a fork.
  • While the stew braises, make a huge batch of mashed potatoes for topping.
  • When the stew is done, shred the beef and stir in some frozen peas.
  • Top with the mashed potatoes & sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake on high heat for a few minutes to melt the cheese and warm the potatoes, then scoop into bowls and enjoy.

Thankfully, most of the work for this meal is hands off. Once you’ve got the stew braising, you can get ready for guests, socialize with friends and family, etc.

You can even make the mashed potato topping the day before for even faster prep!

Get ready to add this recipe to the list of family favorites.

 

Pure Comfort Food - Braised Beef Shepherd's Pie

 

5 from 1 vote
Braised Beef Shepherd's Pie
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
3 hrs 40 mins
Total Time
4 hrs
 
Servings: 8
Ingredients
  • splash of grapeseed oil
  • 2 thick slices of bacon, diced
  • 2 3/4 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces, extra fat discarded
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (or gluten free flour, if desired)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 15 oz can of beef broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
  • 3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
For the Mashed Potatoes:
  • 3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup half and half
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place a large enameled cast iron dutch oven on the stove. Add a tiny splash of grapeseed oil and warm over medium high heat. Add the diced bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon bits are nicely browned and crispy. Turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon bits to a paper towel lined plate. Keep the drippings in the dutch oven.

  2. Season the beef liberally with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Put the dutch oven back on the stove over high heat. When the bacon fat is shimmering, add the beef and brown well on all sides, turning the beef when it releases easily in the pan and develops a dark brown crust. Brown well on all sides. Don't skimp on this step. You are building the flavor here!

  3. When the beef is browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot, and celery to the dutch oven. Saute until softened, about 8 minutes.

  4. When the vegetables are soft, add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.

  5. Add the dry sherry, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and flour and stir to combine. Let cook for a minute or two to thicken slightly. Next add the wine beef broth, water, reserved beef, and bacon to the dutch oven. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the dutch oven with the lid, but keep it just slightly ajar. Simmer for 2 and a half hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so, or until the beef is tender and easy to shred with a fork.

  6. When there is an hour left on the stew, start working on the mashed potato topping. 

  7. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the peeled potatoes. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes and return to the empty pot. Add the butter and 1/2 cup of the half and half. Use a potato masher to mash until smooth. Add 1/4 cup more of the half and half if the potatoes are dry, then season liberally with kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly while you wait for the rest of the stew to finish cooking.

  8. When the stew is done cooking and the beef is tender, turn the heat off on the stove and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use two forks to shred the beef directly in the dutch oven. Add in the frozen peas and stir to combine. 

  9. Carefully scoop the mashed potatoes over the top of the stew, spreading evenly with a spatula or back of a spoon. Be sure to spread them all the way to the edges of the dutch oven. Creating a good seal on the edges with the mashed potatoes will help prevent the stew from bubbling over. 

  10. Finally, sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella and cheddar cheeses over the top of the mashed potatoes. When the oven is preheated, put the dutch oven inside the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or so, until the mashed potatoes are warmed and the cheese topping is melted. 

  11. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minute before serving. When ready to serve, scoop the stew with the mashed potato topping into individual serving bowls and enjoy!

 

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Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine

Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine

Pasta sauce is the ultimate veggie vehicle.

I just love how you can sneak in all sorts of delicious vegetables & not even notice. Not that vegetables need hiding, but hey you might as well bump up the nutrients in your pasta sauce if you can!

Finely chopped mushrooms blend particularly well with bolognese sauce.

When the cook down, they look just like the little chunks of ground beef, so you can’t even tell they’re in there! I use regular white button mushrooms since they have the mildest flavor. It’s a great way to add more fiber and some vitamin D to your meal.

Finely diced carrots also cook down to a nice soft texture, and the bright orange color blends in with the vibrantly red tomatoes.

The result is a thick and hearty bolognese sauce that coats each strand of noodles and is absolutely packed with flavor.

How good does that look??

Easy Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine

This recipe is for a quick and easy weeknight bolognese.

Sure, a true bolognese that simmers for hours on the stove is what dreams are made of, but that’s not super realistic for a weeknight.

Luckily, you can still get a rich and complex sauce in under 30 minutes by using dried herbs, high quality canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and red wine.

I love this meaty sauce tossed with thick fettuccine noodles, but feel free to use whatever noodles you want. This meal is a crowd pleaser, and also makes great leftovers – the flavors deepen as it sits.

Close Up Weeknight Bolognese in a Bowl

Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb ground beef, 85% lean
  • 4 oz white button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and finely chopped
  • 2 whole carrots, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup dry red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus extra to taste
  • 1 lb dried fettuccine pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the ground beef and saute for about a minute, breaking up with a spatula as you stir. Once the meat is broken up and just starting to brown, add the mushrooms and carrots and continue to cook until the meat is nicely browned and there are no liquid juices left in the pan.
  2. While the meat browns, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Next, add the garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste to the pan with the meat along with an extra splash of olive oil. Saute for about a minute, stirring, until the garlic is nice and fragrant.
  4. Add 1 cup of the red wine, the tomatoes, salt, and pepper to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, add the fettuccine to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain and lightly toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from sticking while you finish the pasta sauce.
  6. To finish the sauce, stir in the nutmeg, heavy cream, and 1/4 cup wine. Let simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve up the pasta into bowls, top with the bolognese sauce, extra Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese recipe. 

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Steak and Vegetable Skewers with Chimichurri

Steak and Veggie Skewers Before Hitting the Grill

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m holding onto the last vestiges of summer.

It’s still pretty warm here in LA, but I can feel the subtle changes signaling the arrival of fall. The mornings are crisper, the air rustles with a few more cool breezes than normal, and the days are getting ever so slightly shorter.

But hey, even though summer is on its way out, there are still plenty of sunny days left to enjoy outdoor grilling.

(Or, if you’re like me, “grilling” on a grill pan with all the doors and windows open so you don’t smoke out everyone in your home).

It’s time to get your fill of those delicious, charred, crispy pieces of meat and veggie before they are replaced with falling off the bone tender braised meats and warm hearty stews.

This Steak and Veggie Skewer recipe glorifies the best of late summer produce, and brightens up the meat with a fresh herb sauce called chimichurri.

Chimichurri is an Argentinian specialty, often served with decadent grilled meats. It’s made with fresh herbs (usually parsley), garlic, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes and vinegar.

Optional add-ins include other herbs like cilantro, thyme, or basil, spices such as paprika and cumin, and sometimes lemon juice or zest. My version also gets a kick from fresh shallot.

Old school cooks will tell you the only way to make a chimichurri is to mince everything by hand and whisk it together. By all means, go for it, if you have the time & inclination! BUT, if you want to save yourself some time, you can just throw everything into a mini food processor or small blender and call it a day. While the whisked sauce will remain a little more like herb-laced olive oil and the blender version will emulsify more, they are both equally delicious.

It’s one of the best sauces for, like, pretty much everything.

It’s bold enough to stand up to hearty red meat, but still light enough to delicately cling to grilled vegetables and enhance their flavor without overpowering.

The leftovers are also fabulous stirred into some Greek yogurt to make a creamy herbed salad dressing, or used as a topping for fried eggs in the morning.

Go wild with whatever applications you can think of!

This recipe makes a large batch (16 skewers), perfect for a Sunday-night football grill-out or leftovers for the rest of the week. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Steak & Veggie Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce

 

Steak and Vegetable Skewers with Chimichurri
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Servings: 16 skewers
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lbs sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 red bell peppers, de-seeded & cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 yellow onions, de-seeded & cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 red onions, peeled, halved, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large zucchini, halved & cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot, peeled
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 bamboo or metal skewers
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill, set a grill pan on the stove (without turning it on), or set up the broiler pan in your oven.
  2. Place the cubed beef in a bowl and season with a drizzle of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon paprika. Toss to coat. Toss the veggies with a little olive oil as well to prevent sticking on the grill, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Thread the beef, bell pepper, onion, and zucchini onto the skewers, alternating between items. You should fill about 16 skewers. Cook on the grill until the veggies are charred and the meat is cooked through, OR cook on the grill pan or under the broiler, about 12-15 minutes total, turning occasionally to cook all sides.
  4. Meanwhile, put the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, vinegar, shallot, and extra virgin olive oil in a mini food processor or blender. Blend or pulse until a chunky chimichurri sauce is formed. Serve the skewers with a liberal drizzle of chimichurri. Goes well with wild rice blend or other whole grain side.

 

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