Traditionally made with minced lamb, this shepherd's pie is closer to an English Cottage Pie. Perfect for dark and cold winter days when the desire for comfort food is at a peak, this pie is also very frugal, making the most of winter vegetables. I've streamlined preparation and added flavor by using onion soup mix. Add a cup of thawed frozen peas for a change of pace.
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef in a skillet and drain well.
Add carrots and water to ground beef and simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle beef and carrots with onion soup mix and stir well.
Cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes more.
Drain potatoes and mash with butter and milk until smooth.
Heat oven to 400° F.
Divide beef mixture between 4 twelve-ounce custard cups or baking dishes. Top with mashed potatoes and smooth over.
Place filled dishes on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving, if desired.