Wednesday, February 18, 2009
while shepherds watched their flocks by night
I imagine shepherd's pie has many different interpretations. The authentic is lamb stew covered with mashed potatoes... I think. As I have mentioned before, I am pretty Irish/English, so I guess I have it in my blood to like this kind of food. What I made last night as pictured above is not authentic shepherd's pie but since I was originally planning to make tacos, I considered this an upgrade, you know? Nothing wrong with tacos but I unfortunately don't have the chops (literally) to eat crunchy things right now. Behcet's disease (which I apparently have) causes very painful mouth ulcers with flare ups (which I am apparently in the middle of yet again) so hard taco shells were out of the question.
Ok, enough of my pity party. I wanted something rich and creamy and I was certain I wanted mashed potatoes. Enter shepherd's pie. I really didn't care that I was feeling pretty lousy and lacked the energy to make this... although cooking is effort, it really does make me feel better. It is my thing. My thing.
Shepherd's pie that is not authentic but is pretty darn good anyway modified from Alton Brown's episode "Oh my, meat pie"
For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
6 cremini mushroom, washed and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the sour cream and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the sour cream, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion,carrots, and mushroom and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Add the peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.