Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie by Perfect Italiano

When I think of comfort food, I usually think of warm, hearty dishes that will fill up not only my tummy, but practically my entire being. Comfort food is the kinda food you’d want to have when you stay home on a rainy Sunday evening. It’s the kinda food you wish your mom would cook more often. It’s the food that brings back feelings of quiet happiness and nostalgia. I guess comfort food is different for everyone.

For me, one of my ultimate comfort food choice would be ooey gooey shepherd’s pie.

There’s just something about shepherd’s pie that I can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s the moist meaty interior with a smooth potato top that checks all my boxes. It’s the perfect ratio of meat to carbs, and I can find so little fault with this classic dish! This is one recipe I find myself going back to time and time again, and it’s so fail proof that I believe even someone with no experience in the kitchen can successfully manage. Just try it, and you’ll see what I mean. I know most shepherd’s pies don’t come with a cheesy topping, but I really do feel that it adds a world of flavor dimension by simply including one extra ingredient. A crusty potato top is good, but a cheesy crusty potato top is FANTASTIC. See what I’m getting at? And there’s no brand of cheese that is a bigger mainstay in my fridge than Perfect Italiano!

Perfect Italiano is a cooking cheese brand that adds simple Italian flair to everyday family meals! I’ve decided to use Pizza Plus because of its unique blend of cheeses. Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus consists of Mozzarella, Parmesan and Cheddar. Mozzarella gives the recipe a stretchy nature, while Parmesan and Cheddar add different notes of flavours.

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

Meat Filling
700g russet potatoes, halved
600g beef, minced
250g frozen mixed vege (carrots, peas, corn)
1 clove minced garlic, minced
1 large white onion, diced
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
150g tomato puree
2 chicken or beef stock cubes
a splashing of red wine
3 tablespoons BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
olive oil
herbs (bay leaf, parsley, etc), sugar & black pepper to taste

Cheesy Potato Crust
150g Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus
a handful of breadcrumbs
170g butter
10g garlic / onion powder
80g milk

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes in a large pot over high heat for 30 minutes or until very tender
  2. Sautee onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat for 2 minutes in a large pan
  3. Add minced beef & stock cubes to the pan, stir fry for 2 minutes
  4. Pour in mixed vege, cherry tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine, BBQ sauce and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes
  5. Turn heat off, mix your 2 tablespoons with a bit of water in a bowl to thicken the sauce, pour cornstarch paste into meat mixture and stir vigorously, making sure no lumps form
  6. Strain the water from the boiled potatoes & mash the potatoes with butter, garlic / onion powder and milk until evenly mixed and smooth
  7. Spoon the meat filling into ramekins / oven proof pans
  8. Top off with a layer of potatoes, sprinkle on Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus and finally top off with breadcrumbs
  9. Bake in oven for 8 minutes at 180 degrees or airfry at 200 degrees for 5 minutes
  10. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving, and enjoy

I love so many things about this Shepherd’s Pie!!!!

There will be many Shepher’s Pie recipes out there, but I can bet you that very few of them would be just like mine. First off, the addition of Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus cheese makes it over the top delicious. Secondly, including BBQ sauce and red wine in the recipe is essential for me. The BBQ sauce lends a bit of smokiness and sweetness, while the red wine gives it a nice kick. I love red meat with red wine.

I adore making this in large batches for potlucks, gatherings / parties or even just to store in the freezer in individual heat-proof containers, because all I have to do is take it out of the freezer when I want a good meal, pop it into the airfryer or oven for 8 minutes and I’m good to go!

This recipe freezes and keeps extremely well, therefore making it perfect for people who cook their own food at home (like me). Make it once and you’ll have enough to last you through some weeks! Less cleaning up, and saves you a ton of effort and time.

Personally, I prefer my dishes really “wet” with a loooot of sauce, so that’s why I chose to use tomato puree, to ensure there will be lots of liquid to coat the meat with.. because dry meat is just blurghhhh. I don’t hold back with the butter in my mashed potato as well. #YOLO! The secret to great mashed potato is lots of butter and seasoning! And of course, the inclusion of milk makes sure that the mash is nice and moist, making it easy to spread over the top as well.

All in all, I would have to say this is a recipe that I will be keeping for life. I’ve never made this for anyone who hasn’t not loved it. It hits all the right spots, and is truly the epitome of comfort food. Once again, I have found yet another favorite recipe to cook with Perfect Italiano cheese. Stretchy, full of bite and flavor, their cheeses seem to go well with a thousand and one dishes I’ve been whipping up in my kitchen!

For more yummy talk about cheeses and home cooked food, head on over to Perfect Italiano’s website to gain inspiration and look at recipes that will make you drool!

Don’t forget to hashtag #PerfectItalianoSG when you use their cheese in your homecooked food and post photos on social media!