This is a recipe you could do ahead of time and freeze, or you could throw it together at the last minute for a dinner party (can be easily double or tripled for larger groups) or family dinner. It’s really versatile and easy. My family loves one-dish meals (a.k.a. casseroles), and this fits the bill perfectly.
You could also substitute ground turkey or chicken here, or omit the meat altogether and add mushrooms and more veggies for a vegetarian version.
Start by peeling and cubing 2 lbs. of potatoes.
Boil these in liberally salted water until they are fork tender. Mash them with 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 a stick of butter and 1/2 cup of cheese (I used a nice sharp dry cheddar). Set them aside.
Chop two small onions and two medium carrots and saute in one tablespoon olive oil until the onions are translucent.
Add 20 oz. ground beef and saute until meat is browned.
To this mixture add 2 Tb. tomato paste, 1 cup beef stock, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme and 1 14 oz. can peeled tomatoes.
Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, add 1 cup frozen or fresh peas and simer 15 minutes more, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Pour meat mixture into a 4-cup baking dish.
Cover with mashed potatoes and bake at 375F for 35 minutes, until potatoes have browned. Serves 4-6.