Shepherd’s Pie

This will be one of my last posts before I begin my new job on Monday! Which means, less cooking but I’ll do my best not to stray too far. Got them pre-employment jitters, yes I do!!!!!

Now, I am a pie loyalist, and Shepherd’s Pie, to me, is not pie. Can’t fool me, I’m a sharp one. Though, it is delicious, despite this. In case you were curious, Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, while Cottage Pie is with beef. It makes sense if you think about what shepherd’s do with all of their time..And lastly, Hunter’s Pie is made with venison.  Mmm Bambi, why are you so delicious?!?? 😦

I made a lot of adjustments as I cooked. I prefer my meat a little bit sweeter with cinnamon, kinda Moroccan-y. Also, I decided to saute additional onion slices and top the beef with it before adding the mashed potatoes because I really really love browned onions and thought the dish would benefit from it (and it did).  The mashed potatoes come out very silky smooth. Lastly, I made a generic gravy sauce, but the dish doesn’t require it. I just like me some gravy, specially wit dem taters.

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Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4-6

For the potatoes:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

The Rest:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp garlic, diced
1 large onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced *
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb ground beef or 1 lb lamb
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 -4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped (I used parsley because I had it on hand, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme)
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup frozen peas *
1/2 cup corn *
1 glass red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup stock (I used beef, chicken is okay)
Dash of sugar
Tiny tiny bit of cinnamon (optional, I prefer it)

Extra 1/2 onion, sliced (optional, to be browned)

Grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese (I used gruyere)

*I had a frozen bag of mixed vegetables, composed of carrots, green beans, corn, and peas that I used instead.

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan.

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Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

Saute carrots in the olive oil on medium high until starting to get tender.

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Add the garlic and cook till lightly browned, then add onions and saute for two-three minutes OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Add the meat. Season and add fresh herbs and nutmeg. Cook until browned then drain fat.

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Add the butter, peas, and corn. Sprinkle with flour and stir through. Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Let this reduce slightly then add the stock. Allow to reduce down on medium heat until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to your taste, adding tiny bit of sugar and cinnamon (optional).

Optional step for more onions: Saute the extra onion slices on medium heat, until translucent. I then added a tad bit of sugar and salt to mine, raised the heat to medium-high, and slightly browned them.

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Remove from heat. Grease an oven proof dish with butter and add the meat mixture. Top with extra onions, if prepared.

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Spoon the mashed potatoes over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top. I then broiled them for an additional 3 minutes, but watch closely.

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