Hearty Shepherd’s Pie ‘Cause it Still be Like Winter!

Been cold for weeks: I think we all are craving warm comfort food.  I made this several weeks ago for Joe and probably will be making it again next weekend; belated birthday  special meal. The potato crust is satisfying and the gravy chock full of meat and veggies is richly flavored.  This is an Alton Brown recipe with a few minor changes.  I added red wine, more veggies and I sometimes leave the egg out when I make the potato crust.   The red wine makes the gravy taste perfect. Plus I used different meat and changed the flour to make it a gf choice.

I know the list of ingredients might seem a bit daunting but it does go together fast. Just chop all the veggies first and brown the ground meat while your potatoes cook.  I have used homegrown potatoes for the crust; oh so flavorful and homegrown peas and local corn in the filling.  Yumm!  The leftovers made a great lunch.  Sure warms the tummy on a chilly day.

In the past I have used a bit over a pound of meatloaf mix and some ground turkey meat.  Another time it was ground chuck with a touch of meatloaf mix.   This most recent version was a mixture of venison and ground pork.  It was delish. The traditional meat is ground lamb; also tasty.  You can use plain ground beef or even just ground turkey.  All work fine.  I also have a completely different recipe for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie full of veggies with amazing gravy!

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Delish Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

For the potatoes:
2 pounds russet potatoes
1/3 cup half-and-half
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk (optional)
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb, beef, venison or meatloaf mix
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rice flour
2-3 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth

½ cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
Directions

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the meat and gravy mixture, stir for a few moments. If it seems very thick with really no gravy, add up to 1/2 cup water to thin it a bit (it will get thicker as it bakes) and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. I have a lovely oval ceramic casserole Joe gave me that is perfect for shepherd’s pie.  Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.  The sheet pan is to catch any drips from the bubbling casserole. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.  No sides needed unless you want a green salad? Enjoy!

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Messy photograph doesn’t do the rich flavor justice…..

I searched long for a good recipe that had corn in it as that was what my guy wanted, I was dubious but this is such a tasty mixture I am a convert to corn in my shepherd’s pie!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008, foodnetwork.com

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.print.html?oc=linkback

Originally posted in my blog in early 2016.

Eggplant Potato Moussaka: Opa!

It being fall, the garden is winding down but there are still eggplants to pick in my garden.  Kinda tired of the usual stuff I make with eggplants so I did some research and came up with moussaka, a Greek eggplant casserole.  I made it once long ago and remembered it as tasty. This recipe is from food network and is by Emeril Lagasse, he of the “Bam” exclamation.  It is a fair amount of work; took me about 90 minutes to put it together, 45 minutes to bake and another 50 minutes of resting time before you can cut into it.  Gotta say it was worth the effort. Everyone who ate it were crazy about the flavors.mousakka-014

My alterations: I used a mixture of ground pork and ground lamb (recipe is 50/50 ground beef and ground lamb) and subbed in white wine for red as that was all I had.  Ditto in my subbing of a red onion for the yellow onion and chopped fresh tomatoes for the crushed tomatoes.  Sometimes I am unwilling to make a second run to the grocery store to spend $ for something if I can sub in a different but similar ingredient.  To make it gf I used white rice flour; it was okay; next time I am trying brown rice flour or a flour blend to see if it sticks tighter and browns better. Worked but not sure white rice was the best flour choice.  I used brown rice flour in the sauce but I am guessing any gf flour will work.  The cheese I used was fresh grated Parmesan; three choices are provided.  Never heard of Kefalotiri and I am allergic to Romano.  Plus: that’s what I had in the cheese drawer.

I read some of the comments people made on the recipe; I’m thinking about roasting my eggplant slices if I am in a hurry. I used less oil than the recipe and some of my oil was canola as I was running out of olive oil; couldn’t tell the difference in the final product. I might add a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg next time too, and there will be a next time as this tastes amazing.  PS: I used a mixture of whole milk and 1 percent for the béchamel sauce.

This recipe is too involved to put in my post; here is a link to the recipe.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/eggplant-and-potato-moussaka-recipe.html

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Have fun making it; a great recipe for 2-3 folks to work on together.  Super entrée choice for a family gathering.  Enjoy!