12 March 2011

Shepherd's Pie

A few weeks ago, I tried this recipe out and we found it to be absolutely delicious. Within 24 hours, the entire dish was gone. (And there are only two adults in this house.) I found the recipe in a Wegman's magazine but is is originally from the Culinary Institute of America. I find it to be more on the work-intensive side so it's a better meal to make on the weekends when Steve is around to help distract H & P. For tonight's meal, I actually chopped all the vegetables last night while I was making my Naan Pizza (since it's so easy) so I could just dump them all in when the time came (I'd recommend that if you're making this alone). Without further adieu, here it is.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup green peas (if frozen, thaw first)
1 cup green beans
1 1/2 c tomato sauce (I read that as "cans" not cups, don't know why, but it still worked for me :) )
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine (optional, but I think it gives a better flavor)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used dried parsley the first time I made it and it was fine)
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or thyme (I've always used dried oregano and think that thyme might be weird, but that's just me)
3 cups mashed potatoes

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Crumble ground beef or turkey into skillet and saute, stirring frequently, until meat no longer looks raw, about 5 minutes.
2. Add onion, celery, carrot, peas and green beans. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and all of the vegetables are hot, 8 - 10 minutes.
3. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste and wine, if using. Bring mixture to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring from time to time until sauce has thickened, 10 - 12 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in parsley and oregano or thyme.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Transfer meat mixture to 2 1/2 quart casserole. Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes into an even layer that completely covers the meat. Bake until potatoes are very hot with a light golden crust, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

You can make the mashed potatoes as much ahead of time as you want because they will be reheated in the oven anyway, so this can also save some time. The first time I made them, I only mashed them with chicken broth, a little salt, garlic and parsley and I thought they were lovely. This time, I didn't have any chicken broth so I used water and a little milk, plus salt and fresh parsley and I didn't care for them as much. But of course, you can make them however you want. Enjoy!

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