Friday, April 23, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I've never had Shepherd's Pie before. Wes had it at the cafeteria in college and was not too excited when I told him I was making this. I guess the cafeteria just threw all the leftovers together and topped it with mashed potatoes. I don't blame him for having a jaded few of this dish.

Luckily Rachael Ray's version of this dish changed his mind to what it's really supposed to be like. It shouldn't be a surprise that I watch A LOT of Food Network. And of the shows that make Shepherd's Pie, they all say it's a good way for kids to eat their veggies because of the other elements in the dish. That's not why I made this dish, but if you have/will have kids at home (I don't think anyone who reads my blog has kids who won't eat their veggies), let me know if trick works. ;)

Shepherd's Pie

2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tb sour cream or softened cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth
Salt & pepper
1 Tb. olive oil
1 3/4 lb. ground beef or ground lamb
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped - Of course I left this out, but used some onion powder to fill in the onion flavor.
2 Tb . butter
2 Tb. all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 tsp. Worcestershire
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp. sweet paprika
2 Tb. chopped fresh parsley leaves

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream and add to potatoes. Mash until smooth.

While potatoes boil, cook meat over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Drain fat from pan. Add chopped carrot and onion to the pan. Cook veggies with meat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.

In another small skillet over medium heat, cook butter and flour together for about 2 minutes. Don't let this mixture burn. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy for about 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and veggies. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a casserole dish with meat and veggie mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from heat until potatoes are evenly browned, about 6 minutes. I think mine took maybe closer to 8 or 10 minutes to brown. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

Not the prettiest picture, but you can see what the inside looks like.

I didn't really make the potato topping according to the recipe. I made mashed potatoes how we like them. A little bit of milk, butter, garlic powder, salt and powder. I'm sure the recipe's version of the mashed potatoes is really rich and creamy. Do it the recipe's way or do it your way. Whatever you like. Ooh, garlic mashed potatoes would up the ante on this meal! Definitely be sure to salt and pepper the meat AND potatoes liberally. The first time I made this dish, I don't think I did enough and it tasted a little bland.

This is a nice comfort food dish. It's not too hard to make, although there is a lot going on at once: browning the meat, cooking the veggies, making the sauce, making the potatoes. It may help to have an extra set of hands. Of course you can always make the mashed potatoes first since they're going to get warmed up in the oven anyway. You could probably make this dish ahead of time and cook later in the day. I'm not sure about freezing and then cooking. But let me know if that does work!


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