Shepherd’s Pie

Been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, so I wanted my re-debut to be a solid addition to the blog. Enter: Shepherd’s Pie, the recipe that I believe to yield something more than just the simple sum of its parts.

Let’s start with some information on the name of the dish: Shepherd’s Pie refers specifically to the lamb in the dish; if you use ground beef, that’s Cottage Pie. I’ve watched a competitive cooking video featuring Gordon Ramsay where he got pretty upset with his opponent for calling her dish “Shepherd’s Pie” when, in fact, she used beef.

Let’s start with prepping some veggies:

Pretty standard: yellow onion, carrots, and garlic. But you know the secret behind this dish? Check it out:

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That’s not parsley. Those are the greens from the carrots. I highly, vehemently suggest that you buy carrots with greens still attached. The greens taste vaguely of carrots, and they add an herbaceous, rooty essence that really elevates the final product.

I used one pan for this dish, which meant starting with the mashed potatoes so that they’d have time to cool down after cooked. More on that in a moment:

Mash them up once cooked and leave them in the bowl while you cook the other ingredients. Later, we’re going to introduce some egg yolks to the potatoes, and if the potatoes aren’t cooled down enough, the egg yolks will scramble. Not good. But first, we’ve gotta do most of the cooking:

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Start off the way we usually start off: throw the onions and carrots into the pot with a pinch of salt and cook on medium heat until the onions turn translucent. Once translucent, throw in the garlic and cook for a minute or so, paying attention to it so that it doesn’t brown.

Next, throw in the lamb and break it up as it cooks. The key here is to cook the lamb until the water cooks out of it and it begins to brown. This will take a good 10-15 minutes. It’s not a “quick” process. When it begins to brown, you’ll hear it sizzle as you stir it around. What a sound it is! Wait for it. Then it’s time to season and add some other ingredients:

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Those are the carrot greens.

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That’s maybe a 1/4 cup white wine, a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste, a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, and a beef stock “pot,” as Marco Pierre White calls them. It’s basically a concentrated form of stock, not unlike a bouillon cube.

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Next, the peas and a cup of water. Cook it down until there is little moisture left. It should look like this:

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When it’s all said and done, that’s what your mixture is going to look like. Pick it up with a flat utensil. Does it hold well, almost like Sloppy Joe filling? If so, then it’s ready to go in the dish.

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Now it’s time to get back to those potatoes.

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I’ve got two egg yolks, one full egg, and some grated Parmesan cheese in there. The egg helps stabilize the potatoes (and infuses the potatoes with a heap of protein). Mix it up and spread it on top of your meat mixture. Then, top with some more Parmesan shavings.

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Throw that into an oven heated to 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. That heats everything up again. Then, turn on your broiler and broil for about five minutes, or until the top looks like this:

The mixture underneath the potatoes should be bubbling up on the sides. That’s when you know you’re about to experience greatness.

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That’s your yield, and it is tastier than I can describe to you. It makes a handful of helpings, so great ready for some hearty lunches for a few days.

I truly want you to try this recipe, so please let me know how it turns out!

The recipe is below:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 carrots with greens attached
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lbs ground lamb
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 beef stock pot (or 1/2 cup beef stock)
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 full egg
  • Grated Parmesan or Irish Cheddar
  • Salt to taste

 

Boil potatoes until soft. Mash in separate bowl and let cool. Add oil to pot and sweat onions and carrots with a pinch of salt until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add minced carrot greens, beef stock pot, tomato paste, wine, frozen peas, and a cup of water and reduce until mixture resembles a meaty paste. Transfer meat mixture to baking dish. Add eggs and cheese to cooled potatoes and mix. Add potato mixture on top of meat mixture along with grated cheese on top and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler to brown edges of potatoes. 

 

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