Growing up, this is a meal that my mom often cooked for dinner. It was probably one of those practical meals my grandmother made to serve her 16 children in the midst of farm-life in northern Argentina. To be honest, it wasn't until not too long ago (maybe about 5 years) that I learned that my pastel de papas is one and the same as shepherd's pie!
Because it's like a one pot meal, I usually just make a salad to accompany this dish...Ok, sometimes I serve lightly steamed broccoli or string beans, too. It great for putting together the night before, refrigerating overnight, then baking in the oven in time for dinner; or same-day cooking for giving me the freedom to move onto some other task while I wait for it to be ready. Here is my version of my mom's pastel de papas:
Dirty mashed potatoes ~
- 6 medium-sized potatoes (I like red), washed & cubed w/ skin on
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup of shredded soft cheese (EX: mozzarella, cheddar, etc)
- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 hard-boiled eggs, cut in small pieces (preferably w/ an egg slicer)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup sliced green olives
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- To make the dirty mashed potatoes - place potatoes in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, then lower flame and cook until you can stick a fork through the potatoes (about 15-20 minutes). While you are waiting for the potatoes to cook, skip down to step #5...
- Drain potatoes, place back into the pot, then add butter. Allow the butter to melt.
- Add sour cream, milk, and salt; then mash the potato mixture until you achieve your desired consistency. (Some like completely smooth mashed potatoes, others don't mind some lumps.) Add a little more milk, if/as needed, for help with mashing.
- Add salt, if necessary, then set aside.
- Grab another medium-sized pot; sauteé chopped onions in some oil until translucent or slightly golden.
- Add ground beef or turkey and cook until browned, then remove from heat. Check to see if you can start step #2...
- Add raisins to meat, stir; then hard-boiled egg pieces and green olive slices. Mix together.
- Salt & pepper to taste.
- Butter a deep-dish casserole dish. Line the inside of the dish (sides & bottom) with about 1/2 cm of dirty mashed potatoes.
- Add meat mixture to the casserole dish over the mashed potato lining, then cover the meat with what's left of the dirty mashed potatoes. Even out the top with a spatula, then sprinkle about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on top.
- Bake at 400 degrees, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until the top is golden.
- Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. We like to add a little ketchup to our servings. Enjoy!!