…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? One thing is certain, during the last year and a half we have all been experimenting with different foods. Just think back to 2019 when most meal providers had a repertoire of only 5 dinner recipes (and at least two of those were made from leftover restaurant meals) to appreciate how far we’ve come. We have all embraced wonderful “comfort meals.” They are all warm and nourishing with a touch of mid-century retro memories of mom and grandma.
Right up at the top of that list is Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie. Think of a deep-dish casserole filled with ground or minced meat, savory gravy, and chopped vegetables, topped with creamy mashed potatoes. The “Pie” is then baked until bubbling hot inside and golden brown across the top. I always thought that this classic dish originated from Scotland, but it goes by different names in various countries where you'll find local versions of shepherd's pie served in France, Chile, Argentina, Britain, Ireland, the US and Scotland, of course.
You can make Shepherd's Pie completely from scratch like we did at my Custom House Restaurants, or you can be true to its culinary roots and use up leftover bits of meats and pieces of vegetables in your filling and top it all off with leftover mashed potatoes (a great excuse to make extra mashed). Be sure to bind the filling with a little gravy so you get that perfect bite every time.
I make my Shepherd’s Pie with any single or variety of meats—lamb, beef, veal or pork. You can even use ground chicken or turkey. I find it best to use a chili grind for the meats… see ChefSecret for more on this.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
For the garlicky potato topping
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup beef, chicken or vegetable broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
For the seasoned meat filling
4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips or ask your butcher to grind this with your meat
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
2 cups chopped white onion
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 pound ground beef (or other meat)
1 cup roughly chopped carrots
3/4 cups frozen peas
1/2 cups frozen corn
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness dark beer or other dark stout
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
To make the potato topping
To make the filling
ChefSecret: I find it best to use a chili grind for my meats. That’s a ground meat that has only gone through the grinder one time. I prefer the “rougher” texture alongside the creamy mashed potatoes.
Quip of the Day: “I really look a lot cuter and younger when I wear my mask. It must be the mystique of the unknown."
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong and positive, stay well and safe and be kind to others. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America. Thanks for reading.
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