YIELD: 6-8 servings
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons softened butter
4 oz. each softened cream cheese & shredded Irish cheddar
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup room temperature half and half or milk
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground lamb or beef
3 cups mirepoix (equal parts chopped onion, carrots, celery)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. each tomato paste and cornstarch
1/4 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Fresh herbs (a few sprigs rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf)
1 1 /4 cups low sodium beef stock
1 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
Potatoes: Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until fork tender. Drain, mash and mix in the remaining mashed potatoes ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Cook the Meat and Veggies: Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe stewpot over medium-high heat. Add the ground lamb or beef and crumble the meat using a wooden spoon. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the meat browns, drain any excess grease leaving just 1 tablespoon. Add the mirepoix and season the veggies with a small pinch of salt and allow the veggies to cook down until translucent, about 7-9 minutes. Add the garlic and let cook another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Beef Gravy: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425˚F. Sprinkle the ground meat mixture with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch, stir to combine and let cook for 15 seconds. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, herbs, bay leaf and beef stock. Allow the gravy to come to a simmer before reducing the heat to low and letting it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the herbs, stir in the peas, taste and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake and Serve: Drop large dollops of the prepared mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture and gravy then smooth out gently. Bake for 15 minutes then, finish it under the broiler if you want it to be golden brown on top. Let cool for several minutes before serving.