Living in the Boston area after growing up in New Hampshire, I seldom find myself in situations that would be considered culture shock, but the first time I talked about having made this for dinner, there it was. I grew up eating "Chinese pie." My Polish/Russian mother learned how to make it from her Canadian French sister-in-law.
When I referred to this dish as "Chinese pie," I got nothing but blank stares and, "What the hell is 'Chinese pie?'" Then I was informed that this was called "shepherd's pie." Huh. Go figure.
By the way, it's not really shepherd's pie. Shepherd's pie is generally made with leftover ingredients. Click any of the links to take you to Wikipedia where you may find out more.
Anyhow, this is a favorite of mine as the weather turns cold, but I'd eat it all year because I love it.
1 small onion, diced
2 lbs. ground beef
3 cans cream style corn (see ingredients notes below)
enough mashed potatoes to serve 12
Saute onion and ground beef, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, until cooked through. Drain thoroughly.
Layer ingredients (beef, then corn, then potatoes) evenly in a 9 x 13" baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes until peaks of potatoes are lightly browned.
A few notes about ingredients:
Don't use the super lean beef, like 97%. This dish needs at least a little fat. I usually prefer about 85%, but have used 90%. (It's better with the 85%.)
Mom always used cream style corn, which is more traditional, but I often go for a mix of cream style and whole kernel. For the pictured example, I used one can of cream style and two cans of whole kernel, but I wished I'd used the opposite.
If you prefer frozen corn, you want to use about 3-4 cups.
Don't cringe. Mom always used instant mashed potatoes. So do I. This dish is terrific made with my garlic mashed potatoes which are made from scratch (yes, that recipe will eventually be posted here on my blog), but it's just not the same.
You may notice that in the photo below you can't see any onion. That's because the kids won't eat it. Instead I substituted about 1/2 tsp of onion powder. They didn't notice and I didn't miss having the real thing.
What to do with the leftovers:
Reheat them in the microwave. This is one of those dishes that's even better the next day. In fact, you could assemble the whole deal, refrigerate it overnight, then heat it in the oven the next day. It will take longer to heat from the fridge, probably about 45minutes.