Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie

When my husband saw that I had “Shepherd’s Pie” on our dinner calendar for the week, he asked me what it was. After I gave him a general description, he immediately replied with, “and WHY haven’t you made this before?!” Of course, I didn’t have a good response, but promised that the dinner would be good… with my fingers crossed behind my back.

Yes, you read that correctly – I have a “dinner calendar.” I use Google Calendars; I have a bunch of my own personal calendars, as well as a few that are shared. Included in the list of shared is a dinner calendar, which allows me to plan out what we’re going to eat for the week based on our schedules, prepare a grocery list, and have a reference so I know what’s coming during the week. In our old apartment, we had a cute little whiteboard that I used to write it down on like a menu, but when we moved two years ago, I never hung it back up – so I switched over to Google instead. It may seem a little over the top, but it works for me. I’m a huge planner and I enjoy seeing everything scheduled and written out, even if I shuffle things around all the time.

While a typical Shepherd’s pie is made with meat, I left it out in my version (though I’m sure some ground beef, chicken, or turkey would go well here). I also decided to put a Southwestern twist on it since I’m obsessed with the flavors. The reason why I even thought of making this was due to the string beans we got in our CSA box. At first I figured I could just serve them as a side, but I wanted to do more with them. After trying to think of dishes they were included in and trying really hard not to just make a giant batch of green bean casserole for dinner, I settled on the Shepherd’s pie. So yes, this “Southwestern” version has green beans in it. I wasn’t sure if it would work for or against me with everything else (corn, black beans, salsa, etc.), but I’m happy to report everything played nice in the casserole dish.

The beauty of a Shepherd’s pie is that you can really throw in it whatever you have on hand, top it with mashed potatoes, and call it a day. Since I used instant mashed potatoes, everything came together in a matter of about 20-30 minutes. This was definitely a winner in my book, and I hope you think so too!

Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie
– Serves 4 –

2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
2 jalapeños, diced (more or less depending on your heat preference)
1 1/2 cups corn (from about 2 ears)
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large tomatoes, diced
1-2 cups green beans/string beans (I used 2, and it was A LOT, so feel free to use less)
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Adobo
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 package of instant masshed potatoes (or about 2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, add diced onion and jalapeño, and sauté for about 5-10 minutes, until onions begin to become translucent. Add the spices and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
3. Once everything is well combined, add the corn, black beans, tomatoes, green beans, and salsa. Lower your heat to medium, and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring every so often.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your instant mashed potatoes per the package directions (i.e. add 2 cups of water to the flakes, microwave for 2-3 minutes). Once the potatoes are done, add 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Set aside.
5. Add the mixture to a greased 8×8 baking dish. Top with the other 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, then spoon the mashed potatoes on top of that. 
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until mashed potatoes are set.