Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

Come winter time, Shepherd's Pie has become a real go-to for me and the hubby, whether in the comfort of our own home, or at the local pub.

Obviously, given its name, Shepherd's Pie began as a popular dish amongst the farming class of Shepherds and Peasants (no surprise given the farm fresh ingredients and ease of preparation).

The true shining star of the dish is the main ingredient - lamb.  While some recipes call for beef, I don't think you have tasted the true deliciousness that is Shepherd's Pie without the lamb.  It just gives it that perfect flavor.  And I like to up the ante even more, using Guinness instead of broth or stock.  It's delish.

Ingredients (PART 1):
2 Large Russet potatoes
1/4 cup of organic milk (fat free, or your preference)
1TBS of grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of salt

Ingredients (PART 2):
1 lb. Ground Lamb
1 small onion, chopped and diced
1 Bag of frozen carrots and peas (10 oz), unthawed
1 can of Guinness
1 cup of Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese
1 TBS of flour
1 TBS of fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water to cover the potatoes (optional: I like to leave the skin on, but you can peel the potatoes prior to boiling if you do not like the skin in mashed potatoes).

Place on top of the stove and turn on high heat to boil.  When water creates a rolling boil, add the 1/2 tsp of salt, reduce to simmer, and cover.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender (test with a fork).

Drain the water and place the 'taters back in the pot.  Mash them with a fork, but be careful, they're steaming hot! 

Add 1/4 cup of milk and continue to mash the potatoes until creamy.  Add 1 TBS of Parmesan Cheese and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder for flavor.  Mix in well.  Set potatoes aside.

In a skillet on the stove top over medium heat, cook the ground lamb and diced onion (~ 10 minutes), breaking up the ground meat as it cooks.  Drain the fat.

Add the unthawed carrots and peas to the meat and mix in.  Sprinkle the mixture with 1 TBS of flour, add the fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper, and blend well.

Place the mixture in an oven safe casserole dish (no spray or "greasing" necessary).  Pour in about 1/2 - 3/4 of the can of Guinness, just enough to moisten the meat, but don't pour too much that the liquid pools on top of the mixture.  Leave a little in the can for the cook!

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the mixture and then top with 1 cup of Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese.  Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, until mashed potatoes are browned and mixture is  bubbly.

Let sit for about 5 minutes to come to rest, and then dig in!

Serves 6 - 8