Growing up in southeastern Idaho meant that we ate potatoes, times a lot. Sometimes we had them twice a day; perhaps fried potatoes for breakfast and baked potatoes for dinner, or for lunch in a potato salad, and mashed potatoes and gravy at dinnertime — or scalloped potatoes with ham for Sunday dinner. Always potatoes. I do have to admit, that by the time I grew up and got married, I was heartily sick of potatoes. In fact, for the first couple of years I was married, I rarely made potatoes of any sort. We at rice-based dishes instead. But, as time passed, I re-discovered the goodness of the potato, particularly that they are an inexpensive, nutritious way to feed a growing family. No wonder we ate lots of potatoes growing up. My kids grew up eating potatoes, just not quite every day, and now, my grandchildren have the opportunity to eat potatoes too. What a great legacy for an Idaho girl. One of these times I will tell you all about working the potato harvest; for now, though, I will share the way my mom taught me to make Shepherd Pie.
Mashed Potatoes: 5-8 potatoes, butter, milk (or just use left-over mashed potatoes – about 2 – 3 cups)
Ground Beef 1 – 1 1/3 lbs.
Green Beans fresh (cook them first if using fresh) or 1 – 2 cans of cut green beans, drained
Tomato Sauce (You can substitute a can or tomato soup or a can of tomato paste +1 can water _ add water to tomato paste option)
Cheddar Cheese 1/2 – 1 lb. grated
Salt & Pepper – to taste.
To prepare the mashed potatoes. Peel five or six medium sized potatoes. While you are peeling, bring a large pot of salted water (a couple of teaspoons of salt) to a boil. After the potatoes are peeled Quarter them and put them in the salted water. Bring to a full roiling boil. Reduce heat to a brisk simmer. (Put a wooden spoon across the pot to keep it from boiling over.) Cook about twenty minutes until potatoes are tender. Use a potato masher or hand mixer to beat potatoes until smooth. Add 1/2 – 1 cube butter, and 1/4 – 1/4 cup of milk to make potatoes creamy.
While potatoes are boiling brown ground beef. Remove excess grease. Add tomato sauce and green beans to meat mixture, salt and pepper to taste. Mix and set aside.
Put beef/bean mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish, spoon hot mashed potatoes over as the second layer. Add grated cheese over the top. Bake in a 350% oven about twenty minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.