Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shepherd's Pie/Cottage Pie

Traditional Shepherd's Pie calls for lamb. Not a huge lamb fan. Lance and I did a lamb roast last year for Easter and we weren't all that impressed. Granted, Lance did overcook it, so that probably doesn't help it either. Overall, it tasted like beef only tougher and much more expensive. And that is all I know about lamb. I'm sure someday I'll dabble in it again, but not at this point in time.

Anywho, I've made this a couple of times and yet there is no photo. I'm not sure what happened. One thing I would suggest: this is a weekend meal. Braising beef for 2 hours is not a weeknight endeavor. But I did make two ahead of time and they turned out great. Just bake them a little longer. Also, be generous with your s&p. I made it for cooking club and it was a little bland. It could have used more s&p. Otherwise, it's mouthwatering goodness. Almost as good as the Shepherd's Pie at Dublin Bay in Ames, but not quite. It would be perfect with a slice of Irish soda bread. I used dark rye bread from Big Sky Bakery.

Wine-Braised Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from Food & Wine

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 – 2 lb chuck roast, cut into chunks
salt & pepper
1 cup carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups red wine
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

Mashed Potatoes:
2 lbs potatoes, chopped
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
salt & pepper
garlic powder

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and add to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat until browned on 2 sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and vegetables and stir until dissolved. Add the red wine and water and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer over low heat, turning the meat once or twice, until very tender, about 2.5 hours or until you can shred the meat. Shred the meat. Boil remaining liquid until thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Return shredded meat to the dutch oven and add frozen peas.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until creamy. Gradually mash in the milk. Stir in the butter & garlic powder and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Spoon the stew into a 9-inch square baking dish.** Spread the mashed potatoes over the stew. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the stew is bubbling, the topping is hot and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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