Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

I don't know why but I was in the mood for Shepherd's Pie this week so I went searching for a recipe and found what I thought would be great.  I was right!  I made a few modifications and here's what I got - a definite keeper!

Shepherd's Pie

3 lbs. ground meat (I used turkey, lamb and beef)
2 medium onions, minced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen peas and carrots, thawed and heated for 2 minutes in the micro to cook a little
ground black pepper
3 lbs. russet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into large cubes
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk or heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender.  Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  Add butter and milk and mash them to a smooth consistency.  Set aside.

2.  While the potatoes are cooking, cook the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the meat into small pieces with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes.  Drain the meat through a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the drippings.

3.  Return 2 Tbsp. of the reserved drippings to the pan and heat over medium-low heat until shimmering.  Add the onions and 1 tsp. salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the broth and wine, scraping up any browned bits.  Stir in the drained meat, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and rosemary.  Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the peas and carrots and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer the mixture into a deep 13x9" casserole dish.

4.  With a large spoon, dollop the mashed potatoes over the meat filling.  Using a spoon or rubber spatula, smooth the potatoes out into an even layer and push to the edges of the baking dish.  Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheddar.

5.  Place the casserole in a preheated 400 degree F oven and bake for 35 minutes.  You might want to put a piece of foil under the casserole in case it bubbles over so as to keep your oven clean.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

6.  You can make this ahead of time up to before baking and cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and then foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.  (If frozen, the casserole must be thawed completely in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before baking).  Increase baking time to 1 hour for a cold casserole.

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