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How to Make Shepherd's Pie

September 26th, 2013 Cooking

With autumn quickly approaching, it's time to try out cozy seasonal recipes. However, this does not mean you need to be bored by soups and stews! Think about starting the season off right by serving a hearty and delicious favorite, shepherd's pie.

Its very name evocative of lush, rural pastures, shepherd's pie brings to mind a weathered herdsman enjoying this simple meal at the end of a long day in the fields.

As its name suggests, the dish features mutton or lamb, minced and simmered in stock with aromatic herbs and vegetables. If you prefer beef to lamb you'll still get great results, but you're technically making a cottage pie. There are actually a few names for this favorite dish, including Irish stew and Cumberland pie, as well as others that include fun ingredient variations.

The recipe below adds red wine and Worcestershire sauce for depth of flavor. There's no need for pastry - instead the creamy mashed potato, baked long enough to create a golden crust, is the perfect topping for your pie. While a hard day's work of shepherding in British fields may not be in the cards, you can still enjoy the autumnal dish by following this easy recipe.

Ingredients
Filling:
2 tbsp olive oil 
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1 large carrot (minced)
1 large onion (minced)
1/2 lb corn
1/2 lb peas
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp fresh thyme
5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small can tomato paste 
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken Stock 
Salt
Pepper

Mash:
1 1/2 lbs golden potatoes
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tbsp butter (melted)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, begin your shepherd's pie by cooking the potatoes that will serve as the topping. Boil enough water to cover the potatoes, add a dash of salt, and set a timer for 15 minutes. 

2. While the potatoes cook, start on the pie's filling. Pour your olive oil into a large pan. Once the pan is hot, add your ground meat. Stir thoroughly for several minutes, until the lamb is brown and broken into very small pieces. Stir in the herbs, garlic, carrot, corn, peas and onion. Aim for a well-mixed, minced consistency. 

3. When the onion begins to look translucent, it's time to add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and red wine. Keep the heat on medium high to allow the liquids to evaporate. After about two minutes, once the liquids have reduced, add the chicken stock and cook for three additional minutes. 

4. Go back to your potatoes, as your 15-minute timer will have gone off by now. Strain the water, and then return the potatoes to the pot. Mash the potatoes with the cream, melted butter and egg yolks.

5. At this point, the meat mixture is done cooking. Spoon the contents of the pan into a deep, oven-safe dish. Spread the potato mash evenly atop the meat, and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. You may want to shape the mash with a fork to give a peaked look, as is customary with shepherd's pies. Put the dish in the oven for about 18 to 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the potatoes have browned and become stiff. Take the dish out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.