This Shepherd's Pie is vegetarian comfort food at its best. Carrots, mushrooms, peas, and green beans bathed in a creamy sauce and topped with cheesy mashed potatoes make a diner's delight!
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) soft, unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups low-salt vegetable stock or water
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 ounces baby carrots (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, halved, or quartered if large (about 2 cups)
- 4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch lengths (about 2 cups)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup frozen pearl onions
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 cup whole milk or cream (optional)
For the topping:
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 very large potatoes), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 or three pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 1/3 cups grated sharp cheddar
- 1/2 bunch scallions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 9x13 baking dish, or a 3-quart shallow baking dish
1 Make the buerre manié: In a small bowl, stir the butter and flour together until blended and set aside.
2 Cook the vegetables: In a large pot, bring the stock and wine to a simmer. Add the carrots, mushrooms, celery, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cook at a low boil for 15 minutes. Add the green beans to the pot and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender.
3 Assemble the filling: With a slotted spoon, transfer the celery, carrots, green beans, and mushrooms to the baking dish, blotting each spoonful on a folded paper towel to drain excess liquid. Leave the broth in the pan.
Distribute the frozen onions and frozen peas over the vegetables in the baking dish. Remove the bay leaf.
4 Make the sauce. Bring the reserved broth in the pot to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the beurre manié. Simmer the sauce, whisking often, until it has thickened. The beurre manié will look clumpy at first but will quickly smooth out as the butter melts into the sauce.
If you would like a richer sauce, stir in the optional milk or cream. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
5 Combine the sauce and vegetables: Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the baking dish. Stir gently to coat and set aside while you finish the topping.
6 Heat the oven: Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F.
7 Cook the potatoes: In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, adjust the heat to a simmer.
Simmer the potatoes for 12 to 14 minutes, or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Return the potatoes to the pot and set it over medium heat.
8 Mash the potatoes: Stir the potatoes constantly for about 1 minute, or until the liquid in the pot evaporates and the potatoes look dry. Push them to one side of the pot and pour 1/2 cup of the milk into the empty space. Cook until the milk is hot, then add the butter pieces. (Hot milk makes the mashed potatoes fluffier.)
Mash the potatoes, milk, and butter with a potato masher. Gradually add enough additional milk to achieve a creamy consistency. Beat with a whisk to lighten the potatoes and smooth them out.
9 Finish the potatoes: Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese, scallions, and parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
10 Top and bake the pie: Spoon the potatoes over the vegetables in the baking dish. Use a fork to make swirls in the potatoes to create peaks and valleys. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/3 cup grated cheese.
11 Bake: Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the potatoes are golden. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve.