I am honoring the Patron Saint of Rustic Food and Booze: Good Old Saint Patrick. Tonight in his honor, I am making one of my all-time favorite peasant dishes, Shepherd’s Pie.
Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made from ground leftover lamb, mixed with veggies, topped with mashed potatoes and browned to perfection under the broiler. Since I didn’t have leg of lamb for dinner last night, I’m using lean ground beef mixed with pan roasted veggies and topped with silky mashed russet potatoes.
This is a peasant dish that is really hard to mess up. Cook with good ingredients and a little skill and you’ll end up with a hearty and delicious meal. Feel free to add peas and/or mushrooms, which are pretty traditional. My wife isn’t a fan of peas, so I’ve chosen to omit them; and I normally would have used mushrooms sautéed with the mirepoix, but I forgot.
- 4 Russet Potatoes
- Half a stick of Butter
- Less than 1 cup Half & Half
- 2 LBS. Ground Meat
- 1 Yellow Onion, medium dice
- 2 LG Carrots, medium dice
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Herbs (I’m using thyme and oregano from my garden), chopped fine
- ½ Cup Worstershire Sauce
- 1-2 Cups Red Wine
1: Make your mashed potatoes- clean and wash the potatoes, cut and half and cook in cold water over high heat until very tender. I cook the potatoes in very large chunks, which results in a less water logged spud.
2: Using a ricer, rice the potatoes smooth and add half & half, butter, salt and pepper until silky smooth and well seasoned. If you don’t have ricer, mash with a regular masher. The ricer gives the finished product a silky texture that I love.
3: Cook the onions and carrots in olive oil until nicely browned. You want a nice carmelization on the mirepoix for best flavor. Once the veggies are golden, add the meat, Worcestershire sauce and red wine and cook for about 20 minutes, mixing well and reducing the cooking liquid until you have a rich, meaty stew. Remove from heat and put in an oven-proof roasting dish. For this amount of pie, I like to use a deep 9” x 9” dish.
4: Preheat your oven to Broil. Top with mash potatoes and cook in the broiler until golden. Serve with a nice green salad and a glass or Magner’s Hard Irish Cider on ice and enjoy!
5: Éirinn go brách!