Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shepard's Pie (Cottage Pie)

This is my take on a Shepard's Pie. I don't like lamb, so I use beef, but really, you could use any ground meat. So, in actuality, this is a cottage pie.

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or 1 lb ground lamb)
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, for frying
  • 1 -2 garlic clove, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 beef bouillon cube, or 2 tbsp bouillon paste, or approx 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (I buy the tube of double concentrated paste and use a 1" strip, because I rarely use a whole can of the paste)
  • 1/4 cup flour (you may not need all of it)
  • 3/4 - 1.5 cups water (cold)
  • 1 1/2 cups corn or 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables 
Mashed Potato:
  • 5 -10 potatoes, peeled (depending how much you love potato)
  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk, more as needed
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
  1. Peel and quarter potatoes and set them in a pot of water to boil (on high).
  2. In a large pan on the stove, quick fry the onions in the olive oil (maybe 2 minutes), until they are translucent- NOT burned.
  3. Add the minced garlic to the onions and fry for 30 sec to 1 minute longer.
  4. Add the ground meat.
  5. Fry the meat/ onions until the meat is BROWN. Not gray. BROWN. Some bits might stick to the bottom. That's flavour, that's good. If there is a lot of fat, try to drain some off.
  6. In a bowl mix a couple teaspoons of water with the Oxo packets (I use fresh beef stock), and deglaze the pan with the beef stock.
  7. Add your salt and pepper now too- I find it takes quite a lot of salt. Almost quarter of a teaspoon.
  8. Next, add the flour to the remaining water (or stock) and blend it well. I add the tomato paste now too.
  9. Pour it into the beef/onion/stock mixture and let it thicken for a few minutes. I stir vigorously here so that there aren't any "lumps" in the gravy.
  10. Once the 'gravy' is thick, I add the veggies. Usually I use frozen, and just keep adding them until I think there are enough.
  11. By this time, your potatoes should be ready to mash. Salt, butter, milk and mash, until your potatoes are thick and creamy.
  12. Then, here's my trick (Thank You, Alton Brown)- I add a raw egg and mash the heck out of all of it. The egg helps the potatoes stay 'together' and brown nicely. Try it one time, and if you don't like it, leave the egg out next time.
  13. Pour the meat mixture into a cassarole dish (size depends on whether you like a "deep" pie).
  14. Top with the mash. I have a friend who puts some shredded cheese on top. I've had it, it's pretty good, but I prefer plain potatoes with a smidgen of butter smeared around the top.
  15. Bake at 400F for 20- 40 minutes, or until the top is nice and golden brown. Or, freeze it unbaked, well wrapped in saran wrap and tinfoil. Just remember to take the saran wrap off, because I forgot once, and that's an EFF of a mess you just don't want in your oven.

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