Test Kitchen: Shepherd’s Pie Potato Bowls

Test Kitchen is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this month with a carb-heavy comfort food. This Food Network spin on shepherd’s pie served in potato bowls is festive and sure to please the meat-and-potatoes fan in your life.

Test Kitchen is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this month with a carb-heavy comfort food.

This Food Network spin on shepherd’s pie served in potato bowls is festive and sure to please the meat-and-potatoes fan in your life.

I baked my potatoes in the oven, and they took an hour and 15 minutes to be fork-ready.

I watched the video attached to the recipe to try to figure out the best way to create potato bowls. The biggest trick seems to be not completely removing the skin from the side your knife hits when you cut off the top layer, which was more difficult than I anticipated. Even so, the two potato bowls that were the flimsiest held together better than expected through the whole process.

The recipe doesn’t say to drain out some of the fat from the beef, but I did, just because there was so much. My sauce still reduced well when it was time to simmer the meat mixture.

I ended up with so much extra meat and potatoes that I put the rest of it in a single-serve baking dish and baked it that way. If your potato bowls fall apart when you try to make the recipe, I think putting the whole thing in a baking dish like a more traditional shepherd’s pie would work fine, though I understand it would lose some of the charm.

I put my potatoes in a plastic bag to try and pipe them onto the tops of the potato bowls. It sort of worked, but my mashed potatoes still had some chunks, so it was not as successful (or beautiful) as I had hoped.

The one part of this recipe I didn’t follow was melting a pat of butter on top of the potatoes at the end. I’m sure it would be delicious, but mine weren’t being served or photographed immediately.

A note: I read in the comments on the recipe that someone substituted beef broth for the cup of water in the recipe, and others used all frozen vegetables to save time, so you have some options for customization if you’d like.

Recipe
INGREDIENTS:

4 large russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 small carrot, chopped
12 ounces ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

DIRECTIONS:
1. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and brush them with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Put on a microwave-safe plate and microwave, flipping halfway, until fork tender, about 20 minutes. (Alternately, bake in the oven at 400 degrees on a baking sheet until cooked through and fork tender, about 1 hour.) Let cool slightly.

2. Cut a 1/4-inch-thick slice off the top of each potato. Carefully scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl and mash with the milk, sour cream, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon salt using a fork or potato masher. Fold in the chives. Put the potato bowls on a baking sheet.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire, tomato paste, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and cook until the beef and carrots are coated in sauce with a little extra sitting on the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Stir in the peas until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.

4. Spoon the beef mixture into the potato bowls. Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes on top of the beef mixture and bake until heated through and the potatoes brown on top, about 15 minutes. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into four slices and top each potato with one.

SOURCE: Food Network

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