Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shepherd's Pie - great comfort food

Although it's next to nothing, my knowledge to British cuisine I do know one hearty, protein filled and satisfy all time beloved by British - Shepherd's Pie. Inspired by my new cookbook - Jamie's Great Britain by Jamie Oliver, I probably will be cooking and writing about British dishes in the next couple of posts.

Shepherd's Pie traditionally made with lamb. The American version made with beef is sometime called Cottage Pie. In Jamie's book he introduced recipe with veal. Naming and type of meat aside, Shepherd's pie is essentially a casserole that lined with cooked meat and vegetable ( the idea was to create a new dish from leftovers), topped with mashed potatoes and then browned in the oven.

Just like any other recipe, I modified and created my own little version with mixture of minced beef, pork and some bacon bits. Reduced amount of potatoes and increased meat portion to our liking. Nutmeg was added along with other herbs to give the dish a kick that might be lack of comparing to when making it with mutton. We have added the Shepherd's Pie in to our comfort foods list. You can adjust the recipe as you see fit your taste buds.

Shepherd's Pie
make 2-3 servings

for meat filling
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
250 gram minced beef
100 gram minced pork
100 gram bacon, fat removed and finely chopped
2 tablespoon plain flour
1/2 - 3/4 cup beef stock 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk leak, sliced
1 cup sliced mushroom
2 cups frozen mixed vegetable - carrots, corns, peas
5 springs fresh thyme, stems removed
2 springs rosemary, stems removed then finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
sea salt and black pepper to taste

for mashed potato
400 gram potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced
150 gram cooking cream
25 gram unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
sea salt and black pepper to taste

for meat filling
- Heat oil in saucepan over medium- high heat.Add garlic, stir until fragrance.
- Add chopped onion, cook for 1-2 minutes then add in bacon bits, cook until browned.
- Add beef and pork and plain flour, cook for 8-10 minutes until well cooked. Then add all herbs and spices
- Add beef stock just enough to keep the mixture juicy but not soupy, bring to boil. Then add all other vegetable, salt and pepper to taste then let the mixture simmer for another 10-15 minutes or so until the meat is soft and the gravy is thicken up and flavorful.
- Transfer the mixture into baking dish. I used 6"x9"x2". 
for mashed potato
- Boil potato with a little bit of salt for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender and cooked through.
- Drained and transfer back to the pot and let the excess water vaporize for a few minutes.
- Add butter and start to mash them away, slowly add cooking cream as you go. The mashed potato should be creamy, soft and fluffy and texture. Season well.
- Scoop or pipe the mashed potato on top of minced meat mixture. Make sure to cover the dish well especially along the edge of the dish to prevent the spill of bubbling up gravy. Then use fork to fluff up the potato to create ridges or pattern as you like.
- Pop the dish in the preheated oven of 180c, bake until the potato is golden brown and meat filling is heated through - about 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve with some spring greens and fresh peas.

Recommend to let the dish cool down a bit so the sauce is thickening up before serving. We couldn't wait so we dived in
So that was a our progress through the dish. Athe the end we were well satisfied! Enjoy!

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