Growing up, my family always referred Shepherd's Pie as Chinese Pie. I never understood this. Until I read the French side of PC Sheppard's Pie and noticed it was called Pâté Chinois. Strange no? If you are interested knowing why it's called that in Quebec, you can read the Wikipedia page Pâté Chinois for the possible reasons.
Doesn't really matter; a pie by any other name would taste as sweet.
This is a version that is very different than the one taught to me at George Brown. In that version, there were peas, lots of carrots and the ground lamb was cooked and served in demi-glace. So I like the creamed corn version. Also, the mashed potatoes had egg yolks and nutmeg (Duchess) giving the mashed potatoes added flavour and creaminess. My preference is to leave out the eggs but I would do either way.
The only really important thing to remember is make sure you keep the recipe simple that you enjoy making it and that you can maximize the flavours you've added.
Stevo’s Sheppards Pie
About 500 g Ground Beef or Lamb, or whatever amount 8 family members would normally eat
2 Cans of Creamed Corn or maybe just 1
1 Clove of Garlic or 2 if you like garlic
1 Large Cooking Onion, diced
1 Stalk of Celery, diced
1 Carrot, diced
1 Pinch of Cumin, Oregano, Paprika, Marjoram and Basil
6 Large Baking Potatoes, peeled and in cold water
¼ lb. Butter (1 Stick)
150 ml 35 % Whipping Cream
250 g Marble Cheese, grated
Splash of Worcestershire Sauce, aka “What’s This Here Sauce?”
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Preheat oven to 350.
In a tall pasta pot, cook potatoes. Drain well. In a separate pan, heat cream and half a stick of butter. Whip with cooked butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep hot.
In a large sauté pan, heat butter and add onions, celery and garlic. Add herbs and spices and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes. Add either the lamb or beef and brown. Reduce heat by half and continue to cook until browned through. Season to taste. If the beef is particularly wet, drain. Place cooked meat in a rectangle baking dish (maybe a 13 x 9?). Add desired amount of Worcestershire Sauce. Top with corn and cover with mashed potatoes and coat with grated cheese. Toss in the oven to melt the cheese and brown to desired colour.
Variation: try roasting one sweet potato and while whipping the mashed potatoes, add the cooked sweet potato for a little sweetness and richer flavour.
A Humble Chef's tip: to reduce the stress of a weekday, make this on a Sunday, save it and heat in the oven 1 hour before serving.