Thursday, 5 April 2012

Shepherd's Pie

I've had a lot of shepherd's pie. From beef to chicken to traditional lamb to moose. Most of it was tasty, some of it was exceptionally awesome (moose), but this recipe might just top them all. At very least it would tie with the moose version, a traditional family recipe of a friend. This came as a surprise because I've never made it myself before.

Start by roughly chopping and boiling 3 large yellow fleshed potatoes and a medium sweet potato in cold salted water. Then start browning your onions and minced veal from the butcher in a cast iron pan. Add carrots, a hot pepper and salt & pepper. When all the fat has cooked off, add flour and stir into the meat. Then add, a cup of chicken stock to de-glaze the pan. Scrape off all those tasty crispy bits from the bottom. Pour the mixture into a 9" x 13" pan and flatten out over the bottom.

Now, drain and half mash the tender potatoes. Add the butter, light cream cheese, and rest of the chicken stock. Mash well. The stock will make the potatoes a bit creamier without sacrificing flavour or adding more fat (actual cream).  Plop this mass of starch on top of the meat mixture and smooth it out over top. There should still be a lip on the pan above the mash. Bake this at 350F for 30 minutes and broil until brown spots appear, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, devour, and come back for seconds. If you only try one recipe from this blog, make it this one. Seriously. And maybe the pesto.

*Leftovers come out less like a pile, more like a delicious brick.*

*Update the second*
The above shepherd's pie was so good, I couldn't help but make myself another immediately. This version was more traditional with yukon gold potatoes, and more vegetables. I followed the same method to prepare the potatoes and meat as above for the most part. The main differences are in the ingredients.

The corn I cut from the cob and sprinkled on top of the meat layer to cook in the oven. This kept the kernels more crisp than they otherwise would have been.

Adding a jalapeno pepper was a fantastic idea. It gave a little zing to the meat that brings the dish to another level without becoming very spicy at all. The fresh pepper accomplished this much better than the dried chili I used in the last batch.

The potato layer ended up being stiffer. I used more of them and mashed them a little less because I like lumpy mashed potatoes. To get the same soft and creamy consistency as achieved earlier, I could have mashed them longer and added more chicken stock. An extra half cup would have gone a long way.

This dish is pretty hard to mess up. No matter what, you are going to get your meat and potatoes. With summer approaching, I feel the need to start to eat lighter fare. I'm going to attempt a healthy version with mashed cauliflower and turkey meat, maybe even tofu.


Anonymous said...

 Looks scrumdiddleyumptious! Why the Light Cream Cheese though? I'd go the whole hog and use heavy. ツ

Sam Zen said...

I don't find the flavour difference is noticeable. The light version performs its creamy duty and I can always make up the lost fat with tasty butter.