I don't normally make casseroles, but this one looked pretty good so I decided to try it. The combination of flavors in this is great! It didn't taste bland at all which is something I was worried about. It even heated up really well a couple of days later which is nice because I HATE wasting leftovers. Funny, when I lived with my parents I refused to eat them. Additionally, sorry for the crappy pictures but I can't seem to get good light now that it's getting dark earlier.
Cheddar-Topped Shepard's Pie
Adapted from Cooking This and That, originally from Everyday Food
1 1/2 pounds white baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 1/3 pounds ground beef (I only used 1 pound which was plenty)
6-8 ounces baby carrots, sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup whole milk (I used non-fat milk)
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (I used mild cheddar cheese)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove beef with slotted spoon to separate bowl and drain saute pan.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in same saute pan and add carrots, onion, and thyme. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add beef back into saute pan. Add 3/4 cup water, corn , and peas. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 minute. Season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Drain potatoes, return to saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid had evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1/2 cup cheese. Mash until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
Pour beef filling into greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish. (I used an 8x8 pan because I only have a 1.5 quart baking dish) Drop spoonfuls of potatoes over beef; spread to edges with spatula. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes. (Topping and filling can be made ahead and stored separately.)
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.