Monday, January 6, 2014

Recipe Rewind: Our Favorite Shepherd's Pie

It makes my life much more stressful, but I'm one of those people who gets very, very anxious about the weather during the winter. You'd think after 30 years of Ohio winters I'd be used to the awfulness but somehow, I'm not. This winter has been very snowy and, lately, very cold, so my anxiety has been ratcheted up pretty high.

For me, the only saving grace of an awful winter is that it pretty much requires us to eat lots of comfort food -- and there is nothing I don't love about comfort food. I've been making this shepherd's pie (one of my very favorite comfort foods) for years now. I posted this recipe in the very early days of my blog, and I thought it was high time I revisited it here -- because it's just that good.

This shepherd's pie recipe has such wonderful flavor -- the cinnamon and cloves make it so interesting and special -- and it's simply ideal for warming you up on the frigid winter days we've been having. The ingredients are humble, but the dish as a whole is exceptionally delicious, and one of my family's absolute favorites.

Shepherd's Pie
slightly adapted from There's a Chef in My Family! by Emeril Lagasse

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large Idaho potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese
Splash of milk as needed
1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1. Grease a casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium saucepan, place the potatoes and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil until fork-tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, the sour cream, the cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper. Add a splash of milk if needed for consistency. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then add the beef and cook, stirring to break up the meat chunks, until cooked through.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Tilt the pan away from you, and carefully remove as much excess liquid as possible from the pan. Discard the liquid.

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

6. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and cook, stirring, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well, then add the beef broth and the peas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.

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

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

No comments: