Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

Cities around the U.S. have been experiencing some unexpected winter temperatures...snow in Vegas? While I can't complain too much because I'm used to the winters in the Midwest and East Coast, San Francisco has been in the 40s. Locals tell me that they don't remember such cold temps since the 70s. Regardless, the chill in the air motivated me to make some serious comfort food and the first recipe that came to mind was the British classic Shepherd's Pie.

Donna Hay is Australia's best selling cookbook author and food editor. She began her career at 19 and never looked back. Her book, Modern Classics Part 1, was a recent birthday present from my friend Jen. She swears by her recipes so I thought I would give her Shepherd's Pie recipe a shot. The hearty dish really hit the spot.

I made a tweak or two because I love stews and mashers so I have some staple items that I like to add. For the mashers, always add more cheese and butter than the recipe calls for and I even like to add about 1/4 cup of cream cheese, too. For the pie, I like my spice so I hit it with a teaspoon of red chili flakes and a teaspoon of sriracha. Be careful when adding sriracha to your dishes because a little really goes a long way.

Shepherd's Pie
1 tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
20 oz or minced (ground) lamb or beef
14 oz can of peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper

Potato Mash
2 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook oil, carrots and onion over medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the meat and stir until browned. Stir through the tomato paste, tomatoes, stock, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add frozen peas and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Boil potatoes in water until soft. Drain and mash with butter and milk and then add Parmesan.

Spoon meat mixture into a 4 cup capacity over proof dish. Top with mash and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4-6.



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