Shepherds Pie

This is a perfect dish to to serve when you have guests. Something about the individual ramequins makes it feel special. There is nothing more comforting than Shepherds Pie for Sunday dinner.  This is a more sophisticated version with the addition of cheesy mashed potatoes, gouda is my cheese of choice. You can always omit the cheese and do a simple mashed potato if you prefer. 
Serves 8
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
1 tablespoon oil
1 lb. ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
1½ cups beef stock
salt & ground pepper, to taste
 
Mashed Potatoes:
2 lbs potatoes
1 stick room temperature butter, cubed
3 tablespoons milk
½ cup flavourful cheese, grated
salt & ground pepper, to taste
Peel and finely chop the onion and the carrots.
Sauté them for a few minutes in the oil. 
Add garlic and make sure it doesn't burn. 
Add the ground beef and continue to fry for a bit.
Add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and wine.
Continue stirring and frying for a few minutes.
Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.
Let simmer on medium heat for around 35 minutes, covering the pan with a lid halfway through the boiling time. Season with salt and pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the mashed potatoes by first peeling the potatoes and boiling them in salted water.
Drain the potatoes and press them through a potato ricer back into the pot.
Add the butter, milk, and grated cheese, and mix thoroughly into a smooth, even mash.
Season with salt and pepper.
Butter 4 small or 1 large casserole dish.
Spoon the meat mixture into the bottom of the dish.
Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat.
Bake the pie for 15–25 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes turn golden brown and the meat mixture is thoroughly warm.