Friday, October 24, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

There are some meals that just don't photograph well, and this is one of them. The photos here just don't do this justice. You can't tell how flavorful, aromatic, and comforting this dish is by looking at the pictures. But trust me: This is the best shepherd's pie recipe I've ever come across and it's absolutely perfect for a chilly fall or winter evening. It warms you up from the inside out and fills the house with the delicious aromas of cinnamon and beef.

Someone got me this Emeril cookbook as a gift a long time ago, and to date this is the only recipe I've made from it. Now that I have Andrew, though, I'm sure I'll be using this cookbook a lot more. It contains tons of recipes that he'll be able to help me out with when he gets a little older.

The original recipe gives instructions for how to make the mashed potato topping, but I'm going to skip over that part. I think everyone makes mashed potatoes their own way, and your usual way works just fine for this recipe.

Shepherd's Pie
Source: Emeril's There's a Chef in my Family!:Recipes to get Everybody Cooking

3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I use golden potatoes, which are smaller, so I used 5 of them. I also left the skins on for texture.)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lamb (we use beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon Emeril's Italian Essence or other dry Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/4 cups beef stock
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup green peas (I used a frozen peas and carrots blend)
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Grease casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.

2. Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 375°.

3. Boil potatoes until fork-tender, mash with a potato masher until smooth, and add your usual mashed potato ingredients (I used butter, salt and pepper, sour cream and half-and-half this time).

4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break up the meat chunks, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

6. Remove the pan from the heat. Remove as much excess liquied as possible from the pan and discard.

7. Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the Italian Essence, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, the cinnamon, and cloves, and cook until meat is well browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.

8. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and cook, stirring, about 1 to 2 minutes.

9. Add the beef broth, carrots, peas and tomato paste, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.

10. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.

11. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish and spoon the mashed potatoes evenly over the top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

12. Increase the oven temperature to broil and cook until golden brown and crisp around the edges, 4 to 6 minutes. Let casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Patty H. said...

This doesn't *look* very good, but it sounds great! I just have to pick up an onion...

Patty H. said...

I made this tonight, but I omitted the cloves because I hate them.

My husband only liked the cheese on top, but the rest of enjoyed it very much (me most of all!). Thanks for the recipe! I like the surprise of sweet with the cinnamon. I'd love to see more sweet-meat types of recipes.

Stephanie said...

Looks yummy! I will have to try it out on my hubby.