Scotland is all about comfort food and one of my favorites is Shepard's Pie, which I've made approximately 50 times in the six months that we've lived here. I use a recipe that I've adapted from The Joy of Cooking and it's the perfect dinner for a dark, rainy night - with enough left over for lunch the next day.
Traditional Shepard's Pie is made with ground lamb, however I usually use a mixture of ground beef and ground pork (technically, using ground beef turns it in to Cottage Pie). I make mine in a 9x13 inch pan (the recipe below is based on using a pan this size) but it's easily adapted to whatever size you prefer.
6-8 mashing potatoes for the topping, along with a bit of butter and cream to mash with
And for the meaty part:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 stalks of celery
1.5 lbs ground beef, pork or lamb - or a combination
1/4 cup flour
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp thyme
A pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Make the mashed potatoes first: peel the potatoes, dice them, and boil until fork tender. Mash with butter, cream, salt and pepper and set aside.
Meanwhile, clean and chop all the vegetables. In a large pan, heat the oil and add the onion, celery and carrot, and saute until softened, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When it's no longer pink, add the flour to thicken the mixture. Stir in the broth and let simmer for a few minutes, also adding the spices as well as salt and pepper. Transfer this mixture to your pan and add a layer of mashed potatoes to the top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.