Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Last week my husband and I ate a lot of pie in celebration of Pi Day, or Pi(e) Week in our case. Most of the recipes we made were followed to the "T," but I changed this one so much that I decided I need to share it with you. 

I know what you're probably thinking, "Really, Jess? You just showed us a delicious pie and today you're giving us meat and potatoes? Not just that, but a British version of meat and potatoes? Not to rain on your parade or anything, but that's not exactly what I had in mind when you said, 'Pie Week.'" 

Well, well, well. I see how you doubt me. What if I told you this is the best meat and potatoes meal you'll ever eat, and the fact that it has "pie" in its name is just a sweet coincidence. Oh, and it also has veggies in it! Seriously, this is amazing and so incredibly flavorful that my husband and I both licked the plate clean. 

I first tried this in Britain when some friends made it for me; I loved it then and made it a couple times when I came home. I don't know why we don't eat this more often, because it's also really simple to make (don't let the lengthy directions fool you; it's easy, I promise). I hope I'm talking this up enough, because the picture you're about to see doesn't do it a single smidgen of justice. I snapped it as quickly as I could, because all I wanted to do was eat the darn thing! 

Pie week rocks, my friends. It rocks my socks off. 

Shepherd's Pie 
(really, Cottage Pie since it's made with ground beef and not lamb)
adapted from Alton Brown
9 Weight Watchers points+; serves 6

for the potatoes:
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half or sour cream (fat free is fine)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter (I used Brummel and Brown. LOVE)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • season salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve) 
for the meat filling:
  • 1 tablespoons oil 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup diced green chile (optional but so, so, so fantastic in it)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (buy the bag that has all three!)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
Peel potatoes and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease heat to maintain a simmer; cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Place half-and-half (or sour cream) and butter in a microwave-safe container; heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Mash potatoes; add half and half, butter, salt(s) and pepper; continue mashing until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

While potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place oil in a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add onion and mushrooms; saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic; stir to combine. Add beef, salt and pepper; cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle meat with flour; toss to coat, cooking for another minute. Add tomato paste (or ketchup), chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, and green chile (optional); stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add corn, carrots, and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle cheese over mashed potatoes. Place dish on a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven; bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown and cheese starts bubbling. Remove from oven and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Jess, ever put this in a 9x13 pan? I don't have the size pan it calls for. Any recommendations on a pan substitute? Email me. Thanks.


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