Shepherd’s Pie is a surefire cold-weather crowd-pleaser

Well, I guess winter really is just around the corner.

I have been in denial, thoroughly enjoying the Indian summer that lasted this long, but with the more recent weather and time change, I have to face up to the impending season that is not my favorite. But I do kind of like winter food.

I decided to make a Shepherd’s Pie. Not sure how this would go over with my younger ones as they do not like potatoes, I went about it quietly without much assistance from the kiddos.

Emma, 10, is always easy to please with food so she helped cook the vegetables and brown the meat, while I boiled a few potatoes then pressed them through a food mill with some butter and milk. The vegetables and meat are combined, seasoned really well, then the flour is added to the pan. It tends to stick to the bottom of the pan, but we kept stirring and scraping until the flour seemed cooked a little. This took about 5 minutes.

Emma poured in the broth, then stirred some more until a nice, thick sauce was made. The meat mixture goes into a baking pan, then we piped the mashed potatoes on top with a pastry bag. This is absolutely unnecessary, but I thought it might intrigue Molly, 8, and Clay, 6, the two who do not like potatoes.

I just have one question for you: Who does not like mashed potatoes? I was very happy with Molly, who has led this crusade against potatoes, when she ate and liked, not loved, some fingerling potatoes from our garden.

Alas, Molly scraped all the mashed potatoes off the Shepherd’s Pie but liked the bottom part. Clay did the same, while Emma and I were secretly grateful to have more for ourselves.

Shepherd’s Pie traditionally uses lamb, but we used beef. Choose for yourself, and add other vegetables, if you like. This is a great cold-weather dish that easily can be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. Along with a green salad, Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect winter dinner. Margery Reed Poitras is a former professional chef who now cooks for her kids and occasionally for the more mature palate.