Saveur Magazine Classic Recipes No. 72 – Shepherd’s Pie

Sheperd's Pie

I bet you thought I had forgotten about my self-imposed challenge.  True, I haven’t been cooking as much lately, but as I have been preparing for the wedding and busy with beaurocratic bullsh*t since I moved, the inspiration has been on the back burner.  But I’m back, with a vengeance!  Finally after settling in and having the majority of my tasks completed, I now have time and the chutzpah to dedicate to some serious cooking.  Especially now that the weather has turned, and I can open my kitchen windows and let in that beautiful spring breeze!

I have made shepherd’s pie for many, many years.  It was one of the first ways I got my daughter to eat her veg, masked under the layers of creamy mash.  That is why I was so excited to try this recipe from Saveur, because it looked delicious.  And true to its word, as my daughter put it, it was the best shepherd’s pie she had ever eaten.  Quite disillusioned with the recipes that we tried before from the magazine, she was super surprised when I told her its provenance!

I know I mentioned in my first challenge that I would recreate the recipes exactly as they are printed, but since moving to Madrid, I haven’t found “my markets” yet.  You know, your go-to places to get those ingredients that are a little harder to find?  Well, in my case, even the easy ingredients are harder to find.  It’s amazing how much Madrid differs to Barcelona.  Some things that I considered staples in my household because I knew where to buy them, have now become extremely difficult to attain.  So, this recipe has two variants.  Instead of lamb shoulder, I used ground beef, (I get lots of lamb chops in my neighborhood, but shoulder, not so much.)  And, I added peas.  Just cause we all love peas.  (I snuck some nutmeg into the mash too….)

This dish was a winner.  The layer of beef was juicy and flavorful, the mash was silky smooth on the inside, and perfectly crispy on the outside.  Total hit!

Overall Points:  9/10 –  It beat the Carbonnade!

Difficulty:  Medium, just for the varying components of the recipe.  But, it is leaning more towards easy.

Availability of ingredients:  Readily available

Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 lb trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 1/4″ cubes

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup beef stock

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand

1/2 cup frozen peas (my addition)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 lb russet potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 tbsp unsalted butter

Freshly grated nutmeg (my addition)

1. Heat oil in a 6-qt saucepan over medium high heat.  Add lamb, and cook, stirring, until browned all over, 10-12 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.  Add celery, garlic, carrot, and onion to pan, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.  Add wine, and cook, stirring to scrape bottom of pan, until wine evaporates, about 8 minutes.  Add stock, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, add the peas and lamb, mix well, and transfer to a 9″ deep-dish pie plate; set aside.

2.  Heat oven to 400 F.  Place potatoes in a 4 qt saucepan, and cover with water by 1″; bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook until tender, about 30 minutes; drain.  Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to a simmer in a 1 qt saucepan; keep warm.  Transfer potatoes to a food mill or potato ricer, and process into a bowl; add hot cream and butter, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and whisk until smooth and fluffy.  Spoon potatoes over meat filling in dish, spreading to cover to the edge; drag tines of fork lightly over potatoes to create ridges all over.  (Alternatively, fill a piping bag with the potatoes and pipe them in rows over the filling.)  Bake until potatoes are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 45 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes. (Serve with peas if you didn’t add them in!)

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! : Bubble and Squeak

Continuing with British Week, since it is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!  I love the practicality of British food.  It amazes me that from one lunch, as we had on Sunday, I have almost a week’s worth of food just from the left over’s!!!

Yesterday I made Bubble and Squeak.  This is a hearty, belly filling dish using up the rest of your mashed potatoes and vegetables from the roast.  On Sunday I made roast chicken, roast vegetables, mashed potato and yorkshire pudding.  The pud’s were the first to go.  But as always, I have chicken, mash and veggies left over.

Bubble and Squeak to the rescue!  All you have to do is mix your veggies with the mash, place it into a frying pan and form into a sort of juiced up hash-brown.  Basically the name of this dish is because of the sounds of the “potato patty” as it cooks, and since your veggies will let out a little water as they cook, the whole thing will bubble as well.

Since I didn’t put the chicken into it, because today I am making a Chicken, Mushroom and Tarragon Pie, I decided to fry up a couple of farm fresh eggs to go on top.  Then just, portion it up, place your fried egg on top, and heat up and pour on some of your leftover gravy….and you are good to go!

It’s so ridiculously easy, and tasty.  You can even do this with your Thanksgiving left overs, since the day after I am so keen on the leftovers, but then I kind of get tired of them.  I think this will be a great answer to not end up throwing them all away in despair (and utter disappointment, since I hate throwing away food).

Mind you, the picture isn’t great, just because it is sort of a lump on the plate covered with gravy and egg.  But trust me, your taste buds will thank you.  And it’s so darn quick to make, you don’t even have to think about it and you have a full, balanced meal on the table.  Of course, this isn’t health food.  But I don’t eat like this every day, and you only live once! 😉

So, just to give you a couple of steps:

Mix your left over vegetables with your mashed potatoes.

Place a little oil or butter into a non-stick frying pan, over high heat.

Put your mash and veggies into the pan, and form into a large patty.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes, and then place a large plate over the pan, flip over, and slide the patty back into the pan and cook another 5-7 minutes until nicely browned.

In the mean time, fry up a couple of eggs in another pan.

Serve your bubble and squeak topped with the fried egg and your re-heated gravy.

Enjoy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla