Posts Tagged mashed potato

Shepherd’s Pie with Potato, Parsnip, and Goat Cheese Mash

There is nothing fancy about Shepherd’s Pie. It isn’t pretty or exciting. In fact, it’s really quite unbecoming.

But darn it all, it tastes good. Shepherd’s Pie is the definition of good grub. (It is also the definition of 1950’s ‘casserole cuisine’.)

I made this Shepherd’s Pie the other night, in order to satisfy a a sudden and intense craving for wintery comfort food. It’s been quite chilly in Portland lately, and all I want to do is make soups, stews, and braises. Tis the season, I suppose. But, this particular craving for wintery comfort food was very specific. I really wanted to eat Shepherd’s Pie. To be honest, I can’t recall the last time I had a Shepherd’s Pie. I don’t think I’ve ever actually cooked one!

So I made a Shepherd’s Pie, and it was everything I hoped it would it. It was the epitome of wintery comfort food. Nich and I devoured it quickly and happily (he went back for thirds!).

The only problem with devouring it quickly? I only managed to snap one crappy iPhone photo of my rendition of Shepherd’s pie. Oh well. (Truth be told, even with a proper camera and lighting…it would still look ugly. That’s the thing about Shepherd’s pie. It’s just not a pretty dish.)

Since I don’t have a pretty photo to show for it, you’ll just have to trust me that this dish is worth making. So, if you feel yourself craving wintery comfort food, I recommend that you make this.

It’ll make you happy.

Shepherd’s Pie with Potato, Parsnip, and Goat Cheese Mash


  • 1 pound (organic grass-fed) ground beef
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 small red potatoes
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Optional ingredient: Duck fat. I usually cook with organic, grass-fed beef which is very lean. I wanted to add a little bit of fat into the mix (as fat is delicious!) so I drizzled a teaspoon of duck fat into the beef. I understand that most of you don’t just have a pint of duck fat sitting in your fridge, hence why I’m including this as an optional step. I will say, however, that the duck fat was really quite delicious.


  1. Preheat the oven to 305 degrees F.
  2. Chop potatoes and parsnips into 1″ cubes. (I like to leave the skins on the potatoes and peel the parsnips). Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and allow the potatoes & parsnips to simmer until fork tender (15-20 minutes). Once cooked, drain off the water. Mash the potatoes and parsnips with the goat cheese, milk, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the stove in a large non-stick skillet. Cook the onions and garlic over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Next, add in the fennel, celery, and carrots. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the veggies are lightly browned and tender. Remove the veggies to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Season the ground beef with salt, pepper, red chili flakes, and dried thyme. Return the skillet to the stove and cook the ground beef over medium heat, until browned (5-10 minutes). Once the beef is cooked, stir in the tomato paste and the cooked vegetables. Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes. (If using duck fat, pour over the mixture now.)
  5. Pour the mixture into a square (8×8) baking pan (or individual ramekins). Spread an even layer of the mashed potato mixture atop the beef. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until potato crust is just beginning to brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Swap: Mashed Potato Pancakes with Lemon Tarragon Creme Fraiche

Its recipe swap time again!

By this time, many of you know the drill. My friend and fellow food blogger – Christianna at Burwell General Store – created this swap as a way to encourage creativity in the kitchen. Every month, an ever-growing group of foodies from across the globe reinterpret a recipe from a vintage cookbook (and hymnal!) called All Day Singin’ and Cookin on The Ground.

I’ve been part of the swap from the very beginning, and I never grow tired of the crazy recipes that CM asks us to reinterpret. From Ozarkian Taffy Apples to Company Time Lemon Cake, every swap is completely unique and forces me to think outside of the box. I absolutely love being a part of this group.

For this swap, CM selected a simple recipe for Potato Donuts.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not a big “sweets” person. When I want a snack, I’ll reach for a bag of Kettle chips long before I’ll grab a candy bar. What can I say? I’m a salty gal.

That being said, I knew that my potato donut would morph into something savory. Potatoes are such a versatile ingredient, and I was overwhelmed by the possibilities offered by this recipe swap. I thought about making potato bread. Then, I thought about making potato gnocci (but, wait, I’ve already made that). I toyed with the idea of potato bagels, and then I realized my life is far too hectic at the moment to attempt something as time consuming as bagels.

So, I went with my gut. Literally, I obeyed my stomach. It happened to be dinner time, and I found myself staring at the bag of red potatoes I’d bought for the recipe swap. I’d changed my mind a million times about what to make, but ultimately I let my stomach be the guide. I had a sudden and inexplicable craving for mashed potato pancakes, so I just ran with it.

I’d seen recipes for mashed potato pancakes previously, usually marketed as a way to use up leftover mashed potatoes (which it is a genius idea). Sadly, I didn’t have any leftover mashed potatoes. What I did have was raw red potatoes, which meant I would needed to pre-cook and mash them before I could make potato pancakes. But, by this point, I was really set on the idea of mashed potato pancakes, so I was willing to put in the extra effort.

So, I went through the trouble of boiling and mashing the potatoes. I left the skins on and mashed them with fresh herbs from my garden. Once the potato mixture cooled, I formed them into patties and pan fried them in a cast iron skillet with some brown butter. I served them atop a bed of arugula with a dollop of lemon tarragon creme fraiche.

And holy smokes, they were everything I had hoped they would be. They were crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside. They were hearty, without being heavy. And while I know these “pancakes” are a far cry from a traditional donut, I feel this reinterpretation is completely in line with my palate and style of cooking. Somehow, I turned a potato donut recipe into a seasonal spring dinner! Go figure, I suppose. :)

And, as always, I had a great time. I highly encourage you to visit the Recipe Swap page at Burwell General Store, and take a look at all the other fabulous creations.

Mashed Potato Pancakes with Lemon Tarragon Creme Fraiche

For mashed potatoes (or use leftover mashed potatoes!)
6-8 small red potatoes, washed and cubed (leave skins on)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons nonfat or lowfat Greek yogurt
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of smoked paprika
2 Tablespoons minced chives
1 Tablespoon minced fresh sage

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add in cubed potatoes. Allow potatoes to simmer until cooked all the way through (test with fork or knife for doneness).

Drain water from potatoes. With a potato masher (or other tool), mash potatoes until they reach a smooth consistency. Stir in yogurt in yogurt and butter, mix until creamy. Add in spices and seasonings. Allow potato mixture to cool.

For the potato pancakes
3 cups mashed potatoes
3 Tablespoons flour
1 egg white
Clarified butter

Using a cast iron skillet or griddle pan, heat clarified butter over medium high heat.

Form patties: mix 2 tablespoons of flour and egg white together with the mashed potatoes. Using your hands, form small mashed potato patties, and dusting each patty with flour on the outside. Pan fry until golden brown and crispy on each side (about 4 minutes per side). Adjust heat if the pancakes are browning too fast.

Lemon Tarragon Creme Fraiche
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1.5 Tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
The zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill until use.

Serve potato pancakes warm, atop a bed of arugula. Top with a dollop of lemon tarragon creme fraiche.

avocado mashed potatoes.

I really can’t bring myself to write out an actual recipe for mashed potatoes. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess that all of you have made mashed potatoes at one point or another. If you haven’t, its simple: peel the potatoes (or not), cube, and boil in water until soft. Mash and add fatty goodness to them (butter, sour cream, milk, etc). There you go: mashed potatoes.

So then, this is not a mashed potato recipe, per se. Rather, this is a mashed potato suggestion.

Add avocado to your mashed potatoes. Just do it. I promise, its ridiculously delicious. And, it makes your mashed potatoes a delightful shade of green!

For a ‘family sized’ portion of mashed potatoes, I suggest adding in 2 diced (ripe) avocados. After you have cooked & drained the potatoes, add in the avocados and mash/blend until creamy. I also recommend a healthy dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream) – along with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Garnish with fresh herbs if you so desire! Honestly, the addition of avocado makes them perfect, perfect, perfect. The avocado adds color, texture, flavor, and fat. I don’t know why I’ve only recently discovered this trick!

All that to say: I’ve never had tastier (or creamier) mashed potatoes. Try it out, and see if you agree!