I would like to think this recipe earns me a gold star, because it’s a twofer! Not only is Breakfast Shepherd’s Pie perfect for St. Patrick’s day weekend brunch, it’s also just in time for Pi Day.
This recipe is fairly straight forward, yet there’s a lot of room for creativity. You can play with different veggies or herbs, use ham instead of sausage, or even swap out mashed potatoes for hash browns. You could also add lose scrambled eggs to the filling. Important to note if you do add scrambled eggs: do NOT add garlic anywhere in this dish. Garlic and eggs are lifelong foes, bringing out the worst flavors in one another.  
I also strongly recommend making this recipe the night before, since it’s not an especially quick dish to make. It will probably take about an hour to 90 minutes from start to finish. 

Bfast shep pie cutout WWM
Breakfast Shepherd’s Pie– serves 4-6 

Filling:
10 slices bacon
1 16 oz. tube raw breakfast sausage
½ tsp ground fennel seed (optional)
½ tsp ground sage (optional)
½ tsp black pepper
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
½ C shredded Kerry Gold cheddar cheese 

Mashed Potatoes
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cooked
2 Tbsp. Kerry Gold butter 
2 Tbsp. bacon fat
C buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper

Fully cook bacon slices. Chop bacon coarsely and set it aside in a large mixing bowl. Reserve bacon fat in a small container. 

Add sausage to pan and break up into bite-size pieces. Add ground fennel, black pepper, and sage, and stir. Cook on medium-high heat and brown sausage, stirring occasionally until fully cooked. Lower heat to medium, and remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving rendered fat behind. Reserve cooked sausage alongside bacon.
Add onion and bell pepper to the pan. Add a pinch of kosher salt and stir. Cook until onion is translucent and peppers are slightly softened. Take veggies out of the pan and set aside with the sausage and bacon.
Add 2 Tbsp. bacon fat back to pan with tomato paste and all purpose flour. Stir or whisk until flour is evenly incorporated and no clumps remain. Allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in chicken stock and stir till combined and thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer this sauce to bowl with the meats and veggies.

Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whip hot potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, and bacon fat together until potatoes are broken up. Pour buttermilk into a glass measuring cup and beat egg yolk in until no yellow streaks remain. With mixer running, slowly add in buttermilk and continue whipping until potatoes are completely smooth and desired consistency is reached. Taste potatoes to see whether more salt is needed.

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and turn broiler on high.
Fold shredded cheddar cheese into meat and veggie filling. Transfer filling to a casserole dish and spread it out evenly. Add whipped potatoes on top and spread again in an even layer. Run the tines of a fork all over the surface of the potatoes, creating more surface area for browning. Place under broiler and cook until golden brown on top. Depending on your broiler, this could take 4-10 minutes, so keep close watch on the pie.
If you choose to chill the pie overnight rather than serve immediately, go ahead and brown the top as the instructions above suggest before refrigerating. Reheat it at 300° for about 35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches at least 165°. 

   Serve this hot, with Irish coffee and a bowl of Lucky Charms! I, for one, will be using Bailey’s as creamer! Happy St. Patty’s/Pi day!! 

bfast shep pie plate and coffee WWM

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