Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

I was supposed to post this when Lizzy was away on a trip, but I am quite late in finishing it up!  Anyway, I was just thinking about it tonight at the end of a cold and gray day because shepherd's pie is a total cold-weather comfort food and pretty easy to make.  It's also another one that is so flexible to sub some different veggies or use different kinds of meat.  Also, if I have it that someone has sent us, I really like to use brown gravy mix for the meat mixture, but I tried to actually write down my recipe this winter without using that, as it isn't available here where we live.

Shepherd's Pie
1 kg potatoes
50 g butter
So, here's the thing.  Basically, you just want some mashed potatoes for the top. Different kinds of potatoes are available here different times of the year, and certain kinds feel like they need more liquid or something.  But, basically, peel and cut about 1 kg of potatoes and boil them in some salted water until tender.  After draining them (but while they are still hot), I added some butter and a pinch of salt.  Sometimes I also add a bit of milk, and as you mash them, you can add more milk to get the consistency you want.  Set the mashed potatoes aside to put on top of the casserole.

5-6 small carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
500 g ground meat
3 T flour
1 c broth
1/2 t thyme
1 T ketchup
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c shredded cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to around 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees F).

Cook the carrots until crisp tender.  I often steam them or even boil them for just a couple minutes.  It doesn't take long, as they will continue to cook in the casserole, so you want them still fairly crisp, but I have found that if you don't cook them a bit before, they stay a little too crunchy.  If you wanted to skip this step, though, you could probably chop them up in quite small pieces and just add them in without cooking first, and I think they would be fine.

In a bit of cooking oil (depending on how lean your meat is), brown the ground meat with the onions and garlic.  Once the meat is browned, add the flour.  Mix it in completely and cook it for 1 extra minute.  Then add the broth, thyme, ketchup, salt and pepper and the carrots.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat and cook for another minute or two until it starts to thicken.  Then, pour this mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish.

Top the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes and spread them evenly over the top. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Place the assembled casserole into the oven, and bake it until it is hot and the meat mixture is bubbly, which takes around 30 minutes.

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