Thursday, October 20, 2016

Eleanor's Shepard's Pie


Shepherd's Pie is Eleanor's favorite dish. Every time I cook it, she eats at least three servings. It's hilarious to me because she normally eats everything "deconstructed" and doesn't love dishes where everything is mixed together. But this is her absolute favorite. I think the key here is that she actually knows every ingredient that goes into it. That's an additional benefit of having your kids cook with you...when they understand the dish and took part in creating it, they're more likely to eat it. Works for me!
Here's my recipe for Shepherd's Pie, which might not be the most traditional, but I guarantee it's one of the most delicious. This is perfect enjoyed with a salad on a cold evening when you need a hearty warm-up. And I'll admit I usually garnish with a little Tabasco sauce. I think that's the leftover Soldier in me....

Hope you enjoy! Let me know how it works out for you. 






Eleanor's Shepherd's Pie

1 lb potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into equal size pieces
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2 small carrots, small dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp each minced fresh sage, thyme and rosemary (or 1 tsp each dried)
1 lb ground beef or lamb
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 C beef broth
1 C frozen peas
1/3 C herbed cream cheese (I used German Spundekäs, found at the local street market or in grocery stores)
1/2 C whole milk or cream
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in center of oven. 

Put potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water. Salt water generously, then put over high heat, covered, until boiling. Turn heat down to maintain a simmer and partially uncover pot while potatoes cook. 

While potatoes are cooking, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large, oven proof skillet over medium low heat. (If your skillet is not oven proof, you can transfer your pie to a baking dish later, before topping with mashed potatoes.) Add your onions to the hot oil and lower heat to low. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add diced carrot and cook 5-10 minutes more, until vegetables are starting to brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic and stir, cooking about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add herbs and stir well. Increase heat to medium and add ground meat, stirring well. Cook and stir until cooked through. At this point, if you see very little oil in the bottom of the pan (which will be the case if you used extra lean beef), add up to 1 more Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Next, sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Add Worcestershire sauce and beef broth; being to a simmer. Add green peas and stir well.  Immediately take pan off the heat. (If using a baking dish, transfer mixture now.)

Once potatoes are cooked through (when a paring knife slides in and out easily), drain and return to pot. Add cream cheese and milk, then mash potatoes well until free of lumps and well mixed. 

Place large dollops of potatoes on the top of your beef mixture, and use a rubber spatula to carefully spread mashed potatoes to the edge of your skillet or dish. (You can also pipe the potatoes using a pastry bag, if you prefer.) Slide the tines of a fork along the top of your mashed potatoes to make ridges, if desired.

Bake pie in oven until the ridges are delicious-looking golden brown and the liquid is bubbling. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve.