Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shepard's Pie

Shepard's Pie
I was in Whole Foods on one of my biweekly trips to see what meat/seafood they had on sale. This trip they had ground lamb. I admit it -- it was an impulse buy. I love lamb, but I usually buy a leg and roast it. I had no idea what I wanted to make with the ground lamb-- but that's half of the fun. It gave me an excuse to go through my cookbooks and search the Internet.

I was torn between lamb meatballs (there are some great recipes out there) and Shepard's pie. Since we are expecting snow, the Shepard's pie won (it seems like the prefect snow day comfort food). Also it gave me an excuse to buy a potato ricer I have had my eye on.

I combined several different recipes and ideas and here is what I decided on.


Mash Potato Layer

Peel approximately 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes and quarter and cover with water (add a little salt) and cook for approximately 15 minutes in boiling water until fork tender. Drain potatoes reserving 1/2 cup of the potato water.

In the pot the potatoes were boiled in- melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add reserved potato water and 1/2 cup of cream.

Butter, cream, and potato water

Ricing the potatoes

Add mashed or riced potatoes to the pot; mix, and add salt and pepper to taste. (It gives you an excuse to taste the mashed potatoes -- yum!) Set aside

Fluffy mashed potatoes
Lamb Layer

Combine in a Dutch oven:

2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
2 Turnips, Peeled and Diced
1 Medium Onion, Diced
1 Carrot, Peeled and Diced
3 Leeks, Sliced- White and Light Green Parts

Everything is chopped and ready
Cook on medium/low heat until tender (not browned) approximately15 minutes. (At this point you should preheat the  oven to 400 F/204 C).

Add 1 pound of ground lamb and increase heat to medium and cook until no longer pink approximately 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Drain any excess fat. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Cook for approximately 2 minutes.

1 Cup (250 ml) of Beef Broth
1/2 Cup (125 ml) of Dry White Wine
1 1/2 Tbsp of Tomato Paste
1/2 Tsp of Fresh Thyme, Chopped
1/2 Tsp of Fresh Rosemary, Chopped

Cook on low heat for approximately 5 minutes until thickened.

Put it Together

Cover the lamb vegetable mixture with mash potatoes. Place small pieces of butter on top of the mash potatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Place uncovered in oven and bake for 30 minutes. The potatoes should be browned and the dish heated through. My family thought it was good but missing something. (Although Steven did have 2 servings). They are so used to having garlic and cayenne in everything I make-- I think they were missing the spice and the garlic. I thought it was great without it.

The bottom line-- will I make it again? It was a lot of work-- but yes I will make it again. It is the perfect wintry day dish. I may add a bit of garlic next time and some Worcester sauce.... The problem with wintry comfort food--- it is full of fat and calories and you eat it when it is cold out-- too cold to bike the 10 plus miles to work off the calories so you are stuck working out inside..... or putting on your winter layer of insulation.

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