My calendar just informed me that it’s March. Apparently this has been the case for a few days now. Shepherd’s Pie made during this time is liked by everyone in the house.
It also informed me that there’s this holiday coming up where we all pretend to be Irish for a day, so I guess my recent craving for shepherd’s pie worked out pretty nicely.
Any dish where you have meat, veggies, mashed potatoes, wine, AND cheese all in one sloppy package is an instant winner in my book. And when you’re as busy as we’ve been lately, a dish that provides a family of two with instant comfort food for a week is a huge bonus.
Like yesterday for example, when I was trying to start working on this post, photographing the next one, preparing for a cocktail party, and talking on the phone all that the same time. Doesn’t work, in case you were wondering. At least lunch was taken care of – we had leftover shepherd’s pie.
Speaking of life and time saving phenomena, have I ever expressed my love for potato ricers? Absolutely 100% perfect, lump-free mashed potatoes every time. Or perfect, lump-free anything else you want to mash. Best $7 I ever spent.
So since I have literally nothing I need to accomplish today beyond relaxing and scarfing down leftovers from last night’s party, I’m just gonna cut to the chase.
Buy potato ricer.
Make shepherd’s pie.
Eat really, really well for a week.
SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE
There’s a good amount of red wine in this recipe, so I’d recommend using something you would actually want to drink. And since there will be a good amount of the bottle left over, I’d also recommend drinking the rest with dinner. To make herb removal easier down the line, I tie the thyme and bay leaf together with kitchen twine.
2 pounds ground beef
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, washed well, sliced into half moons
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup red wine (I used a malbec, any full bodied wine will work)
Preheat over to 400 degrees F. In a large pan over medium high heat, brown the beef, breaking up into chunks as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and dump the remaining fat out of the pan.
Lower the heat to medium. Add the butter, oil, leek, onion, carrots, and celery. Season with salt. Cook until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, cook for another minute. Add tomato paste, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring well.
Add wine, stirring well, scraping up anything that has stuck to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes until the wine has reduced by about half. Add the meat, beef stock, worcestershire sauce, and herbs; stir well. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the liquid has thickened considerably. Taste for seasoning. Remove the herb bundle. Add peas.
Add the meat mixture to a 9×13 inch dish (or any large casserole dish). Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the top, fluffing with a fork. Combine the parmesan and bread crumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over the mashed potatoes. Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. To get an extra crispy top, place under a broiler for a couple minutes. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra for boiling potatoes
freshly ground black pepper
good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Cut large potatoes into quarters, smaller potatoes in half. Add to a pot with enough cold, salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until fork-tender. Meanwhile, warm the milk in a small pot.
When the potatoes are done, drain them and mash with a potato ricer into the pot they were cooked in. Add the butter, salt, pepper to taste, nutmeg, and most of the milk. You may not need all of the milk, keep adding until you reach the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.
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