3poundsround white or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1large onion, chopped
4-5large carrots, chopped
1teaspoonfresh thyme(or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
salt and pepper to taste
1cupdry red wine
3cupsreduced sodium beef stock(plus more if needed)
1/2cupmilk(more if needed)
3tablespoonsbutter, softened, optional
2cupsgrated sharp cheddar cheese(see note)
Cover potatoes with water in large pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, and reduce heat. Cook until fork tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside (see note).
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Brown the meat in two batches over medium high heat. Drain excess fat from the browned meat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens. Add carrots and allow to soften slightly as well.
Add pepper, flour, thyme and stir together for about a minute until the flour coats everything.
Add the peas, wine, and broth. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender and the gravy is thickened. Add more broth as needed to achieve a consistency that you are happy with.
Mash the potatoes with milk and a little butter (if desired).
Spread the meat and vegetable mixture in a large baking dish and carefully spread the potatoes over the top. Place pan on a foil lined baking sheet to catch spills.
Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake until bubbly and heated through, about 20-25 minutes.
Mashed potatoes can be prepared up to two days in advance and refrigerated. Leftover mashed potatoes can be used if you have them.
Substitute lean ground beef for the lamb if desired.
To make a lower calorie shepherd's pie, omit cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the mashed potato topping with paprika or use a fork to "decorate" the top with tine marks.