February 17, 2012

Time to Bring Back an Old Classic

by Marjan

Have you observed within the last decade the comebacks of many popular dishes from the Seventies and Eighties era of cooking? I guess fashion isn’t the only brand that makes a comeback throughout the ages!


Mac’n cheese, burgers, and cupcakes have recently had a face lift to represent the modern day food lover’s palate. Well, I want to make a petition: Let’s bring back Shepherd’s pie! A traditional English dish popularized in the late Seventies. I smell the sweet smell of comeback! I have made many requests to family, friends, and acquaintances within the last couple of years for their recipes that are neither too traditional ("been there, done that!") or too fusion ("is this Shephers’s pie?"). Not finding the right recipe, I have made my own concoction of Shepherd’s pie. I hope you will give it a try and sign my petition to "bring back a classic!"






Ingredients:
• 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
• 2 rib celery, sliced
• 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 5 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 1/2 pound ground beef
• 1/4 cup canned beef broth
• 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper


Directions
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, half the salt, and oregano. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until mushrooms are soft and tomato paste has turned brick red, about 8 minutes more. Stir in the beef and sauté until it is in small pieces, avoiding large clumps. Stir in broth, remaining salt, Worcestershire, and some black pepper; cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes.

Transfer meat mixture to a 2-quart oval casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Begin preparing mashed potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled quartered
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Put potatoes in a saucepan with cold water to cover by about 1-inch and add the salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. At the same time, combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan. Toss the potatoes over medium heat until dry. Add the heated milk mixture and mash the potatoes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread mashed potatoes over the top of meat mix, leaving a 1/4-inch boarder around the edge. Make a decorative pattern on the top of the potatoes, if desired. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake until potatoes brown and the juices bubble around the edge, about 40-50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Cheerio!

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