Sunday, August 19, 2012
How about Shepard's Pie?
So I was trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner. I had leftover pork sausage and some mashed potatoes. I thought why not make some Shepard's Pie. I hadn't made it in a good long while, so I opted to make this dish.
Now keep in mind that this does take some prep work. I like to make this well in advance so I can enjoy this when I am well and relaxed, drinking my glass of wine while its cooking in the oven. Sometimes though, I might just pop it in the oven in a day or two and not have to deal with doing all the prep the whole day. This is a great dish that you can truly have year round.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb ground pork
1 large yellow onion
2 tbsp Worcestershire
1 cup beef stock
1 tbsp minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp thyme (preferably fresh)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt, freshly ground
1 cup carrots (using carrot sticks)
1 cup burgundy wine or 1 cup Guinness beer
additional beef broth for the sauce (optional)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded cheese
2-3 cups mashed potatoes (you can use leftover mashed potatoes)
additional salt and pepper to taste
Start by getting your large pan heated. Add olive oil to the pan. Dice the onions and place into the heated pan. Continue to cook until almost translucent. Add the meat to the onion. Cook the meat until brown. Notice that you will have plenty of fat from the meat (this is mainly from the pork). If you can, using a spoon, scoop out as much of the fat that you can from the meat mixture. Leave some of it, but you don't want to end up with a very fatty mixture (this makes the sauce rather fatty and unappealing).
Add the spices along with the beef broth. Allow to continue to cook for at least 10 minutes, stirring on occasion. After 10 minutes, taste to see if you need to add any additional spices as well as salt/pepper.
Add the carrots to the meat mixture and allow to cook until somewhat tender. I prefer to use the carrot sticks because this is one less item that I have to either peel, dice etc.
After the meat mixture has been cooking, add the wine/beer. Cook down the alcohol for about 5 minutes, stirring on occasion. Once cooked down, add some more beef broth (if needed) and cornstarch. You are trying to create a little thickened sauce. After you have noticed that the sauce has thickened some, take off the heat and transfer to the baking dish.
Add the frozen peas and shredded cheese. Why frozen peas? Well, to be honest, frozen peas keep their form much better than fresh peas. Especially when you are placing this in a casserole dish. Remember you are making this in layers. I have seen it without cheese, but for me it makes this more rich. Just my personal preference.
After you have added the cheese and frozen peas, work with getting the mashed potatoes prepared. Mash the potatoes and add 1/2 cup butter, 1 6oz can evaporated milk (or regular milk, but room temperature), and salt/pepper to taste. Notice that I am using some leftover mashed potatoes that I had previously made. This dish so lends for you using leftovers.
Make sure you spread the potatoes evenly. Add the paprika, spreading throughout the Shepard's Pie.
Normally, I will have made this ahead of time. I like to cook this in the oven the following day. Something about letting the spices meld well with the meat and other ingredients. When and if you do that, take the Shepard's Pie out of the refrigerator and allow to stay out for about 20 minutes (you are trying to bring up from the refrigerator temperature).
Otherwise, preheat the oven at 350. Cover the Shepard's Pie with foil and place into the oven after the oven temperature is set. Allow to cook for about 45 minutes (notice it might be bubbling). Take off the foil and allow to continue to cook for about 15 more minutes (you are trying to get a crust).
Again, this is a great dish. I like to have a side salad with this. It keeps well for at least a couple of days. I have frozen this before and it keeps well after two weeks. I don't like to do it longer than that because it's so good that you want to have it during the week.