I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. We had a great day filled with lots of love and laughs and plenty of good food, which I will be getting to over the next few days or so. It was a packed meal with lots of great recipes that I have to share. in the meantime, I do have a recipe to share that I made just before the holidays. I had some lamb that I had used to make a meal early in the week and decided to grind it up to make some shepherd’s pie, one of our favorite meals. I actually made this one right in my trusty cast-iron skillet to make things even easier. This recipe is from Cook’s Country and was very easy to make.
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 pounds ground beef or lamb
Salt and pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup beer
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 cup frozen peas
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup heavy cream, warmed
Ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
For the filling, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is foaming. Add the onion and the carrots and cook until they are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the meat, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 12 minutes. Add the flour and the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste begins to darken, about 1 minute.
Add the heavy cream and cook until it spatters, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, beer, soy sauce and thyme leaves and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick but still saucy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the frozen peas, adjust the seasonings to taste and transfer the mixture to a broiler safe 2-quart casserole dish.
For the topping, adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring the potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and water to cover the potatoes to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan and mash the potatoes with the butter and heavy ream until they are smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the potatoes over the filling, using a spatula to smooth out the top. Brush the topping with the beaten egg and drag a fork across the top to make ridges. Bake until the filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Turn on the broiler and cook until the top is golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Just a couple of quick things about this recipe. If you prefer to use ground beef instead of lamb, it is easy to substitute. For the beer in this recipe, I used a basic lager (Samuel Adams in fact) but I think any mild beer would work well here or even a nonalcoholic beer if you prefer. The flour and cream mixed with the beer and soy sauce and tomato paste make for a nice, thick filling with great flavor. The topping is really just a basic mashed potatoes recipe, so if you have any leftover mashed potatoes you could also use them instead. In the past, I have also made a layer of mashed turnip or rutabaga to really add another layer of flavor. This one is a favorite around our house and I make this a few times a year.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another great recipe. I have quite a backlog of recipes to share now, so there are some great things ahead, including a roast lamb, roasted prime rib roast with vegetables and chimichurri sauce, melted potatoes, green bean casserole,French onion soup,, Swedish meatballs, homemade pizza rolls,baked beans,skillet pizza and more. I also got some new kitchen toys for Christmas to add to my arsenal and some new plans for the blog for the coming year, so keep checking back to see what is next. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!