Signature Cafe Brand Shepherd’s Pie

I’m not really sure if Shepherd’s pie is a regional favorite in the US, I certainly didn’t know about it growing up in casserole central – Minnesota.  I did become aware of it, fond of it, living in London in the 90s.

For the unaware, classic Shepherd’s pie is a “hot dish” – basically a “meat pie” with a crust of mashed potatoes.  Different recipes/variations cal for the addition of vegetables, typically peas and / or carrots, stirred into a minced (ground) beef mixture.  The mashed potatoes are placed on top, and the dish is baked.

You might have been served this concoction under different names, like “cottage pie.”  In different regions of the UK, you might find a meat other than beef; lamb is one example.

Point being, at sometime this dish has entered mainstream US cuisine, or at least enough so that there is a Safeway store brand available in the ‘heat and eat’ section, next to other products of the same ilk – mashed potatoes, or mac n cheese.

Safeway’s version has minced beef, brown gavy, carrots, onions, and green beans, with a “golden potato and cheese crust.”   It comes in a package of nearly two pounds, and thus is a great value for a ‘balanced’ meal at less than $3.00 per pound.

The box claims you can get four servings from this entree.  Well, two if you are at our house.

The product is made by Lucerne Foods of California for the Safeway chain.

As always with these kind of “home tests”, I opted for conventional oven heating as opposed to the microwave prep.  The only discernable difference ot me is that conventional method takes about 6x longer than the microwave.  I could have expermented with a few minutes under the broiler to see if I could get the crust to “crust up”, but I didn’t.

We liked the product.  The flavor was good and the different ingredients were obvious.  The mashed potatoes, like most frozen mash, are a little less firm that home made potatoes, but the texture was not enough to put me off the product.

A hot, well-rounded meal in a few minutes, at a good price.  What more can we ask for these days?

Safeway Brand Shepherd's Pie