Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seconds, please Shepherd's Pie

It was the snowstorm from blech today.
I'm choosing to talk and think as little as possible about it in the hopes that it will quickly go away.


So what better than to hibernate and make comfort food?

This is a long recipe, but oh baby - this one's amazing.
My conversation with Noah went like this:

Noah: What's for dinner, Mom?
Me: Shepherd's Pie.
Noah: What did you say?
Me: Shepherd's Pie.
Noah: Ew, that's gross.
Me: Noah, that's very rude. We don't say food is gross. You don't even know what Shepherd's Pie is.

later at the table as I put his bowl in front of him....

Noah: Is this Shepherd's Pie?
Me: Yes!
Noah: I think I'll try this!
Me: (trying not to let my jaw hit the floor) That's a great attitude to have, Noah!

He eats it all.
I ask if he wants seconds.

Noah: What's seconds?
Me: It's when you get more of your supper because you liked it so much.
Noah: Yeah. I want some more please.

And then he proceeds to eat it all. Again.

So here's Shepherd's Pie. I don't know where I got the recipe from but I'd be happy to credit whoever it belongs to!

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb of ground beef
2 tbsp butter
and whatever veggies you want - I used: 3/4 cup diced onion, 1 cup diced celery, 2 cups diced carrot
I would also add peas and corn next time too.
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
1 cup red wine (I discovered you can use broth if you don't have red wine and it works just as well - just not with that lovely wine flavouring)
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

1. Add 2 tbsp oil to a large sauce pan over med high heat. Add ground beef.
2. Allow excess liquid to bubble away; stir and cook until meat is well browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. This is an important step! It made a huge difference in my pie! Drain the excess fat using a colander.
3 Deglaze the pot with red wine (or your broth), scraping up browned bits and let reduce slightly.
4. In another large pot, add remaining vegetable oil over med high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook until golden, about 7 minutes.
5. Add garlic, stir briefly and add tomato paste. Brown paste slightly and sprinkle in flour. Cook out for a minute or two.
6. Add in red wine/stock from deglazing beef, scraping up crispy brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
7. Add beef stock, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Return browned meat to the pot. Simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes.
8. Remove lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes; the liquid will reduce and thicken. Remove rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. (This is where I'd add the peas/corn next time). Season well with salt and pepper.
9. Add to the bottom of a 10 inch round casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes done however you like (I add lots of butter, milk and parmesan cheese - you can even boil your potatoes with some smashed garlic cloves and then mash it all up together - yum!).
10. Cover the mashed potatoes with a topping of parmesan cheese and bread crumbs (if you like).
11. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Bake on the middle rack until the top is golden and the filling is warmed through, about 20-25 minutes.
Let stand a few minutes before serving.

And while you might hope for leftovers, don't count on it.

**As requested, here's my recipe for mashed potatoes (it changes almost every time, but here's what I did for this specific recipe).

Mashed Potatoes
7 medium cooking potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/3 cup butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup cream or the highest percentage milk that you have in your fridge (I used 2% as that's all I had)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Add quartered potatoes and smashed garlic to medium pot. Fill pot with cold water just to cover potatoes; season cooking water well with salt (it should taste like the sea) and bring to a boil.
2. Boil on medium high heat until potatoes are tender but not overdone, about 15-20 minutes. Now I definitely undercooked mine this time (by accident), but it worked out and lent the "crust" to a more "smashed potatoes" type crust instead of the typical smooth mashed potatoes. It worked, thankfully. :)
3. Strain potatoes; let dry out slightly in colander before returning to pot. Add cream, butter, pepper, parmesan cheese and more salt if necessary.
4. Mash roughly with a fork or potato masher.
And there you have mashed potatoes for your Shepherd's Pie crust! :)


  1. hahaha I love Noah's conversations with you, they make me laugh every time! :)

  2. hm your recipe didn't include potatoes in the ingredients list. so i was suspicious. turns out mashed potatoes is just an assumed expertise! could you add your mashed potatoes recipe? i am no good even at that :)

  3. Silas - the mashed potato recipe is up! Also, mashed potatoes are fantastic the more dairy you add (as far as I'm concerned) whether it's sour cream, butter, cream cheese, cheddar cheese or milk.
    And garlic. Garlic mashed potatoes are one of my favourite things to eat. :)


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