Monday, March 21, 2011

Shepherd's Pie (even kids will love)

I wanted to make an Irish meal since this was St. Patrick's day week, but everything I was going to make was followed by a not so happy look from my husband. So I just stayed in the isles instead and made a Shepherd's Pie. Basically a Shepherd's Pie is a beef, mutton or lamb stew that is covered with mashed potatoes and baked. This recipe was a hit with both my husband and son.

Shepherd's Pie

3 medium carrots
2 leeks, tops removed*
2 celery stalks
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/8 cup fresh parsley
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

4-5 baking potatoes
2 tablespoons margarine
3/4 - 1 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Rough chop and clean vegetables*, add to a hot pan along with the garlic and olive oil.  Saute until leeks and celery are just translucent. Add the beef and brown.

While the beef browns peel and cut the potatoes. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once the beef is browned, add the broth and tomato paste. Stir to combine, add the flour andcontinue to stir until the flour is Incorporated. Add the thyme and parsley to the mixture and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and place back into the pot, add the margarine and milk.  You may want to add more or less milk depending on how smooth you would like your potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Add the peas to beef mixture, and season to taste.  Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish.  Top with the mashed potatoes.  Use a spatula to completely cover the dish.

Place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes to really marry all the flavors. During the last few minutes, place under the broiler just until golden.

*Because leeks are grown in a sandy soil you really want to clean them well, cut the leek lengthwise and then slice place in a large bowl of cold water.  Agitate the water slightly, all the dirt will sink to the bottom and the leeks will float.  Just scoop the leeks out of the water and leave the dirt behind.