15 October, 2008

Cooking with Beans: Scrummy Shepherd's Pie

I won't lie. I'm Scots-Irish and until Monday I had never eaten shepherd's pie. Something about it scared me for years, meat and tomatoes mixed with mashed potatoes. BLAH! Then I realized that what had typically been presented to me as shepherd's pie was not actual shepherd's pie, but the version commonly called cottage pie. The difference between a shepherd's pie and the American-style cottage pie is mostly in the meat used. Shepherd's pie is made with lamb, while cottage pie in America is often made with ground beef. Talk about a heavy drop in the belly. No thanks!

So, I did some shepherd's pie research after hearing Chef Gordon Ramsey talked about his family recipe on his reality television show, Kitchen Nighthmares. I figure if Gordon Ramsey will put something in his mouth and swallow, it can't be that bad.

So, after doing some research, here is the recipe I put together in the end.

You Will Need:
1 lb minced lamb
1 parsnip, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup peas
10-11 oz can of diced tomatoes
4 oz can tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small online, chopped
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp powdered beef bullion
6 medium russet potatoes
1/2 milk
2 tbsp sour cream
4 tbsp butter
Fresh dill weed, parsley and thyme
1 cup of cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot bring about bring about 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Chunk your potatoes and add to boiling water. While potatoes are boiling, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add chopped carrot, parsnip, onion and garlic. Before they start to caramelize add minced lamb and stir so that it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Once lamb begins to brown and appear a little crumbly you'll want to add the teaspoon of powdered bullion. Stir in tomatoes. Add the dill, parsley and thyme and stir. Allow ingredients to simmer for about ten minutes. Check your potatoes. If they are ready for mashing, remove them from the heat and strain the water. Add butter, sour cream, salt, pepper and milk and begin mashing your potatoes. Return to your lamb and tomato mixture and add the tomato sauce and peas. Allow the mixture to bubble slowly, then begin to add the flour. Stir flour thoroughly into mixture and let cook for 5 minuter or so to get rid of any starchy flavor from the flour. Turn on your oven's broiler. Remove from heat and spread the lamb and vegetable mixture in an even layer into a baking dish. Next, layer the mashed potatoes on top and smooth them out. Place the dish under the broiler for three to five minutes, or until potatoes begin to turn golden brown. Remove and add the cheddar cheese. Return to the broiler for another two-three minutes until cheese browns into a nice crispy crust. Allow the dish to sit for about five minutes, and then serve.

Lamb really is so soft and savory in this dish. The carrots and parsnips are a nice flavor contrast to the tomatoes. I'll tell you what, I will never turn my nose up at Shepherd's Pie again, and neither will my family, who incidentally were very impressed with the outcome.

I hope you enjoy.

1 comment:

Jacquéline Roth said...

You eated a lamb? *sniff*

I still can't get over the it's all piled together thing. Food items must not touch!