Shepherd’s PieMarch 16, 2016 By Cathy — 13 Comments
Shepherd’s pie is the ultimate in comfort food…a hearty and satisfying one pot meal.
I’m not a big fan of parades. I know, I know, it’s a little like saying I don’t like Elvis or apple pie or puppies. But I’ve simply never liked them. I guess I’ve just never understood the point. I could never quite figure out where to stand, what I was supposed to be looking at and if I should be cheering or waving. But then a holiday rolls around and it just seems so festive. Am I missing out?
Tomorrow the streets will be lined with marching bands and Irish men and women dressed in festive green. There will be cheering and singing and flags waving for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I love the energy and the tradition and the idea of it all. And yet, I won’t be trekking into the city to celebrate. I’ll be getting my Irish on in another way.
Of course, it’s no secret that my favorite way to celebrate is with food. I asked my boys what they would like to eat for St. Patrick’s Day and I was met with a resounding chorus of “shepherd’s pie!” Now as I understand it, shepherd’s pie is English in origin, but who am I to argue? It’s our favorite pub food and if I serve it alongside a Guinness (for me, not them silly) then it makes it Irish in my book.
Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb, but you can feel free to substitute beef (this technically makes it “cottage pie”, but I won’t tell). I cook the ground meat with vegetables in a rich sauce with a healthy scoop of vegetables and top it with fluffy mashed potatoes. If I’m feeling especially fancy, I use a pastry bag fitted with a rose tip and pipe pretty mashed potato swirls on top, but dolloping and smoothing works just fine too.
You can bake your shepherd’s pie in a large baking dish, but I love individual servings. It’s not because I don’t like to share, it’s, well, yeah, it’s because I don’t like to share. That and it gives me an excuse to use my favorite mini cast iron skillets. You can use oven safe ramekins here too.
So I won’t be drinking my green beer amongst the parade goers tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling festive. I’ll tie on my best green apron, crank up the Dropkick Murphys and maybe even drop a bit of green food coloring in our eggs in the morning. And shepherd’s pie will definitely be on the menu for dinner. Because it doesn’t matter how you celebrate, on St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish.
- Mashed Potatoes
- 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ lbs ground lamb or beef
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tsp thyme, minced
- 2 Tbsp parsley, minced
- 1 cup green peas
- *4 - 6" cast iron pans or 4 - 12 oz ramekins (greased) or 1 large casserole pan (greased)
- Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cool water. Add two tsp salt, cover and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, then remove from heat and drain.
- Strain potatoes through a ricer or mash with a fork or masher. Add milk, cream, butter, salt and pepper and stir well. Cover and reserve.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan over med/high heat. Add onion and carrots saute until softened, 5-10 mins. Add the garlic and saute 1-2 additional mins.
- Add the meat and cook, stirring often, until browned. Stir in the flour and cook 2 mins.
- Add the tomato paste, mustard, dijon and worcestershire sauce. Mix well and cook 2 mins.
- Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, then add the stock.
- Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 5-10 mins.
- Stir in the thyme, parsley and peas.
- Divide meat mixture between individual pans or ramekins. Pipe or dollop mashed potatoes over the top to completely cover.
- Bake for 20-25 mins or until potatoes are golden.