I had a little too much fun on Saturday and wasn't feeling great on Sunday, so I needed some comfort food that was easy to make. I just wanted to eat...not think. The Mrs. suggested Shephards Pie. I looked up a recipe on the AllRecipes app on my iphone and picked the easiest one:
Now, I have heard that Shepherds Pie should have lamb, and this is technically a Cottage pie...so with that disclaimer out of the way...
I varied the recipe a little- I added a medium size sweet onion and I used prepared minced garlic I had on hand. I didn't use "low" or "lean" anything. I used ground chuck (85/15 I believe), regular sour cream, and regular beef broth.
I used an 8 qt dutch oven on the small. I set it up for a direct cook and added the onions first with a little butter to soften them, then I added the beef and minced garlic and browned the beef. I used a nice dose of cherry chips during this stage and tried to keep the dome closed to get some smoke flavor. Once the meat was browned, added the flour per the directions for a minute followed by the beef broth. This just makes a cheap gravy. I let this cook uncovered for about 5 more minutes, then I removed the dutch oven and set the egg up for indirect (sort of*) and stabilized around 375.
Meanwhile, the Mrs. was inside taking care of the taters. We used red taters with the skin on, added sour cream and cheese as the recipe stated, plus a little butter, garlic salt, and pepper. I added the mashed taters to the DO, put it back on the egg for 18-20 minutes.
*Now, I don't have a plate setter for my small, so I was using 3 pieces of a broken pizza stone to rig up an indirect setup. I don't think it was blocking the heat at the bottom so well, and the gravy was boiling up through the taters. I think another contributing factor is the recipe is a bit "soupy". I think next time I might use a combination of cream of mushroom soup and beef broth to thicken it up, as well as get a better indirect setup so it is not cooking from the bottom up.
After 20 minutes I noticed the soupiness so I decided to pull it off the egg and cover it with the DO lid for a little while to let the gravy settle back in place. After a few minutes I added cheese and and covered again until the cheese melted. That's a great thing about a CI DO...you can keep cooking even after you have taken it away from the heat source.
For a quick, easy, cheap meal...this was really good. It was fun to do all the cooking in a single pot, and it was really easy. I only took one iphone pic after the fam had devoured half of it. It is certainly not the prettiest meal, but it was really tasty. I'm definitely going to try this again with some variations.
Warning: If you are the type of person who can't stand your food touching, this is not the recipe for you!