Shepherd's Pie is one meal that both my husband and I can have for days on end and never grow tired of eating. I mean, creamy mashed potatoes on top of ground beef and tender veggies in a lip-smacking sauce -- what's not to love?!
The only reason that we don't make it more often is because (let's be honest here) it's kind of a production to make. As in, an afternoon-consuming production that leaves my kitchen looking rather storm tossed by the end. Some weekends, I enjoy this production. Others, not so much.
Enter my new favorite recipe: this Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie from my pal and Simply Recipes contributor Coco Morante's new book The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook.
You guys, this recipe is fast, easy, and most importantly, delicious. It also leaves a minimum number of pots and pans to clean, and that gets a thumbs up in my book. Please allow me to tell you all about it, as well as about Coco's awesome new book!
When I first came across this recipe, I was puzzled. Maybe I hadn't had my coffee yet, but I imagined tossing ground beef, veggies, and a few whole potatoes into the Instant Pot and then lifting off the lid to reveal a table-ready Shepherd's Pie topped with mashed potatoes.
In reality, there are a few more steps involved -- though not many!
Coco has you start by prepping the filling using the Sauté function on the Instant Pot. Then you place a tall steamer rack in the pot and place the peeled potatoes on top.
Then the lid goes on and everything pressure cooks together. At the end of cooking, the potatoes are perfectly cooked and ready to be mashed with milk.
For a traditional casserole-style shepherd's pie, you transfer the filling to an 8x8 pan, top with the mashed potatoes, and broil until the top is golden. You can also serve this in bowls by scooping out some filling and topping it with a generous dollop of mashed potatoes. So easy!
This is absolutely my new favorite way to make Shepherd's Pie, but there are plenty more recipes in this book that I'm excited to try.
I've actually already made the Sweet Potatoes Stuffed With Black Beans and Quinoa. Verdict: phenomenal. I love having this easy, meat-free meal in my back pocket.
A few that are next on my list:
Coco sprinkles her recipes with useful tips and suggestions for substitutions, which are all very useful for cooks like me who employ a mix of roughly 80% "follow the recipe" and 20% "wing it."
Reading through the book, I also appreciate how straightforward and approachable all the recipes feel -- though of course, this shouldn't come as a surprise since this is why I love featuring her recipes here on Simply Recipes as well! With its mix of basic recipes (like yogurt and chicken broth) and recipes to make for dinner, I think this book would be a good one for new Instant Pot users and die-hard fans alike.
One last treat for all you readers out there: I thought it would be fun for you to get to know Coco a little more. Here's a quick Q&A with the author herself!
1. How many Instant Pots do you own?
Right now, four. I've also given some to friends and family as I've upgraded or received new units for review. Currently I have two 6-quart models (Ultra and Smart WIFI), as well as 3-quart and 8-quart pots.
2. What’s one recipe from this book that you really want people to try and fall in love with?
Cincinnati Chili (page 109). I adapted the recipe from a stovetop version shared with me by my friend Diana Pray. It's full of spices, including a healthy dose of cinnamon -- the Midwestern-meets-Greek flavor is so unique and delicious. You have to try it (served over spaghetti, of course)!
3. What three recipes from this book are best if you just got your first Instant Pot?
Risotto (page 52), because it's so easy you won't believe it. Split Pea Soup (page 86), because it tastes like my grandma's did -- I'm transported back to her kitchen when I eat a bowl. And Succotash (page 246) -- most all the ingredients come from the pantry or freezer, so you can make a hearty, nutritious vegetable side dish any time. Those are all really straightforward recipes that don't require you to buy additional accessories, so you can make them right when you take your Instant Pot out of the box.
4. Latest food obsession?
Danish-style rye bread, a.k.a. rugbrød. It's dense and chewy, and so flavorful. I've been toasting slices of it for breakfast for weeks now, ever since the weather turned chilly. My favorites are from Tabor Bread and Regular Portland Bread.
5. Three ingredients that are always in your pantry?
Nutritional yeast, almond flour, and San Marzano-style canned tomatoes.
6. Go-to beverage when you’re done testing recipes for the day?
Lately, a big mug of Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland tea. Depends on the season, though!
7. What are you working on now?
I'm wrapping up my third cookbook and developing recipes for the fourth. It's a whirlwind of Instant Pot recipe testing over here, nonstop. I can't wait to share them all!
SAVE IT Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie + First Look at The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook!
PREP TIME 15 mins
COOK TIME 45 mins
TOTAL TIME 60 mins
SERVINGS 4 to 6 servings
Changes I Made to This Cookbook Recipe: I used beef instead of lamb I used chicken stock instead of vegetable stock (it's what I had!) Taste the mashed potatoes and the filling for seasoning and add salt if needed (I used roughly double the amount of salt as indicated in the recipe) Reprinted with permission from The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright 2018 by Coco Morante. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the avocado oil. Add the lamb and sauté, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, for about 7 minutes, until cooked through and no traces of pink remain.
Set a colander in a bowl. Wearing heat-resistant mitts, lift out the inner pot and pour the lamb into the colander, letting it drain. Return the inner pot to the Instant Pot housing. (Note from Emma: I just scooped out the meat with a slotted spoon and then poured off all but a tablespoon of fat, which I used for sauteing the vegetables.)
Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the pot and sauté for about 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. (Note from Emma: As the onions release moisture, use that to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. More flavor!)
Stir in the thyme, pepper, Worcestershire, and tomato paste. Return the lamb to the pot, then add the vegetable broth and peas.
Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure all of its legs are resting firmly on the bottom. Place the potatoes in a single layer on the rack.
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