Saturday, October 22, 2005

Shepherd's Pie (or Cottage Pie, if you prefer)

It's a cold, rainy, crappy day. Time for comfort food -- and my Granny Stewart used to make the most ass-kicking Shepherd's Pie. I decided to try my hand.

You will need:
1oz butter
12oz minced beef or lamb (I use a mixture of both -- the lamb adds flavor)
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1 garlic clove peeled and minced
1/2 tsp plain flour
12 floz beef stock
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
20oz peeled potatoes (type suitable for mashing)
4 floz cream or full fat milk
3oz butter
pinch of ground nutmeg

Now, on to the cooking of the beast!

1. Heat the butter in a sauce pan, add the chopped carrot and onions. Cook until the onion goes translucent.

2. Add the minced beef/lam mix, and cook until lighty browned, stir as it cooks to make sure the meat doesn't form lumps. (I HATE lumpy meat.)

3. Add the tomato paste, garlic and flour, stir well. Add the stock and bring to the boil to thicken the sauce. Allow to simmer slowly for 40 minutes (add more water if the sauce gets to thick), stir so it does not stick and burn. You can cover and cook it in the oven at 150c. Pour the cooked meat into a pie/casserole dish. I use a HUGE old cast-iron dutch-oven pot. Just be sure that you leave at least 2" for the potato topping.

4. Boil the potatoes in salted water. When cooked drain and mash togetter with the butter, milk and nutmeg. Allow to cool slightly before putting it on top of the meat mix. I usually just spread it messily around; if you're high-falutin', you can put the potatoes into a piping bag with a large plain nozzle. Then, pipe over the cooled meat mixture in neat rows. (Or write something obscene, like "Our Meat Can't Be Beat!")

5. Place the pot into a preheated oven (350f)and cook for 20 minutes or until the top is browned.

Make sure the centre of the dish is hot before serving.

No comments: