shepherd’s pie with potato cauliflower top

Slow simmered ground beef, red wine, and aromatic herbs make an unbelievable family favorite!



  1. Combine water, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the raw ground beef to the baking soda mixture and turn to coat the beef with the liquid. Let the beef sit in the baking soda mixture for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in an oven-proof sautee pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook the onions, stirring with a wooden spoon until translucent and starting to brown, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the ground beef, cook over high heat using a wooden spoon to break the beef into small pieces. Cook until fully browned and the water has evaporated, 12-14 minutes.
  6. Add the thyme and oregano to the beef and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes until the paste turns brick red.
  8. Add the wine and cook, scraping up browned pieces from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until the wine has evaporated.
  9. Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle flour over the top of the meat and vegetable and cook, stirring frequently, until everything is covered with flour, about 3 minutes.
  11. Add the water and sprigs of rosemary, bring to a simmer and cook for 45-60 minutes over medium heat until thickened. Add black pepper and frozen peas and red wine vinegar. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  12. While the beef is simmering, make the potato and cauliflower mash.
  13. Place the diced potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water and 1 Tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the potatoes are boiling, add the cauliflower and boil until the vegetables are soft enough to easily pierce with a fork, 15-20 minutes.
  14. Drain the cauliflower and potatoes and return the vegetables to the saucepan. Add the butter, half and half, and asiago to the potatoes and smash with a potato masher. Taste and add salt and black pepper as desired.
  15. Spread the vegetable mash over the top of the beef mixture, heat the casserole under the broiler until browned, 5-10 minutes.
  16. Let the shepherd’s pie sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.