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Monday, November 21, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Today was the first day that the temperature dipped below freezing.  When I set out to make something for dinner I instinctively thought of comfort food.  Something rich, hot and filling to satisfy the tummy and the soul. 
Shepherd's pie definitely falls into the comfort food category.  Meat, potatoes and vegetables all in one dish is another reason I love it. This is my interpretation and although it may use some typical ingredients found in most popular shepherd's pie recipes, some of the ingredients and procedures will differ. It is very hearty, flavorful and an absolute perfect food for a cold winter day.

2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes peeled and chopped
3 lbs ground veal (or beef)
1 large onion, medium dice
1 1/2 cups of corn
1 1/2  cups of fresh or frozen peas
1 large carrot, medium dice
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
1 1/2 cups of beef stock
1 1/2 cups of creme fraiche
4 TBSP of unsalted butter
1 cup of milk
salt and pepper , to taste
Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water and boil until very tender.
 Place the ground meat in a foil lined baking try and  sprinkle with chopped garlic.  Put in a pre heated 375f oven and bake until brown.

Place onion and carrots to a hot pan with 2 Tbsp. of butter and saute until slightly softened.
Now add peas and corn, cook for a few minutes until warmed through.
Add meat and 2 cups of beef stock to pan and simmer on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
When the potatoes are tender, drain water and pass through a ricer or food mill into the same pot.

Add milk, creme fraiche, 2 Tbsp. of butter, salt and pepper to potatoes and lightly whip with a wooden spoon.  Using a ladle, remove 1 cup of liquid from the simmering meat and vegetables and add it to the potato puree.
Now take 1 1/12 cups of the potato puree and add it to the meat and vegetables, making sure to stir until completely incorporated.  (Most people would add flour instead of the potato puree as a thickening agent but the puree lends a much better flavor and texture to the meat).  Once most of the liquid has evaporated and been soaked up by the puree, remove from heat.

Spread the meat mixture evenly in the bottom of a large baking dish or hotel pan and press down slightly with a wooden spoon.  Now spread the potato puree over the meat mixture until covered, wrap with foil and bake in a 375f oven for 20 minutes.
After baking for 20 minutes, remove foil and place pie under a broiler for 4 or 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.  This can keep well in the refrigerator for 3 days or it can be frozen  in pieces and reheated on another cold wintery day.
Try it today... it just makes you feel good !


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