Friday, October 21, 2011

Cold Weather Shepherd's Pie

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I went out to dinner at an Irish bar; he had Shepherd's Pie and I had Corned Beef and Cabbage. They rank up there at the top of the list as far as our favorite meals go, and to be honest they were both pretty bad. I won't name names -- and it's probably our fault for eating a meal at this bar -- but I think we'll find somewhere else to go next time. I try not to clog my arteries with corned beef more than once a year [and I'm already at 2], but I think Shepherd's Pie is good during any of the colder months!

Cold Weather Shepherd's Pie
4 russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb ground beef 
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
4 large carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup corn
1 teaspoon thyme 
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup stock
3/4 cups milk
1 egg 
1 tablespoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.
3. Meanwhile, peel and quarter potatoes. Toss in the boiling water when ready.
4. Prepare the veggies- peel and chop the carrots; dice the onion and garlic.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add carrots and onions, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
6. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook through.
7. Mix in the rest of the ingredients through the stock (peas, corn, thyme, butter, flour, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and stock). Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for a few more minutes.
8. Test the potatoes with a fork- if they're soft, drain the water from the pot and put the potatoes into a mixing bowl.
9. Mash the potatoes (or use an electric hand mixer, as I do) with milk until smooth.
10. Pour the meat and vegetable mixture into a casserole dish and spread the potatoes on top to cover completely. 
11. Beat egg and use a pastry brush to wash over the top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.
12. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes. The top of the potatoes should be lightly golden brown.

I think this dish turned out really well! Definitely better than the restaurant's version. I made this recipe without salt, but you could always add a little into the meat mixture before baking. I also used vegetable stock because that's all that I had on hand. I think it was fine, but I probably would have used homemade beef broth if I had some.

I bought our ground beef from Smith Meadows, they have a stand at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market on Sundays. Sometimes people are surprised that I'm not a vegetarian, but I definitely eat meat! I get all of our meat from the market and make sure that the animals are raised humanely and not given hormones or antibiotics. The meat is more expensive than buying from a grocery store, but it also tastes much better and we only buy enough for two meals per week. When we started buying meat this way I was surprised at how much better it tasted. Food you can feel good about! 

[Yes, I stole that from Wegmans :)]

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