By Emily Malloy
Shepherd's Pie is a delightfully hearty and fragrant comfort food. Few dishes stick to the ribs as well. Though British in origin, it is a meal enjoyed throughout Ireland and the UK alike, so it often makes its appearance in our home around St. Patrick's Day.
Traditionally Shepherd's Pie is made with ground lamb, but is also delicious using ground beef which is more readily available in the States. (Beef is included as a substitute, however, technically speaking, it becomes a different dish known as a cottage pie).
The cooking of the meat in red wine, accented by a blend of allium flavors, provides a wonderful aromatic filling. We, Malloys, can attest, it is a marvelous antidote to the lionish winds of March.
Yields: 8 servings
Time: 1 hour
Ingredients for the meat filling--
1 pie crust, store bought or homemade recipe from below**
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, cut into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried chives
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (or beef)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (or amino acids)
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the mashed potato topping--
8 Yukon Potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted + 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare a 10" pie dish with pie dough, feel free to crimp the edges of the dough, set aside. Preheat the oven to 350*
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add the carrots, chives, and red pepper flakes, cooking for an additional 5 minutes for a slightly crunchy carrot (which is our family preference) or 8 minutes for a softer carrot.
3. Add the wine, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste, cooking for 5 minutes. Add the flour, regularly stirring for a few minutes until well-combined.
4. Add the lamb (or beef) and mustard stirring to combine, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir in peas and salt and pepper, cooking for an additional minute or two. Set aside.
5. Place potatoes covered with water into a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring it to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until soft. Drain and place into a large mixing bowl place the 3 tablespoons of butter on top to melt. Using a fork, press down a little bit of the potatoes (2-3 tablespoons' worth) to use in the next step.
6. In a small bowl, combine cream, egg, and seasonings. While whisking vigorously for a minute or two, add a few tablespoons of slightly mashed potato to temper the egg.
7. Using an electric mixer on medium, begin to whip the potatoes as you add the cream mixture until smooth, about 3 minutes.
8. To begin assembling the pie: spread the meat mixture on the prepared pie dish with the pie dough, spreading evenly. Top with the potatoes, spreading evenly, and finally place the cubes of small butter on top of the potatoes.
9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes have nicely browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving and enjoy!
**For the crust, yields 2 pie crusts--
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 to 3/4 cup ice water
Directions for the crust:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
2. Add half of the cubed butter and using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand.
3. Add the remaining butter cubes and continue rubbing it into the flour mixture, but this time it does not need to be fully incorporated, some little specks of butter makes for a flaky crust.
4. Add lemon juice and 1/4 cup of ice water, mixing and fluffing the mixture with your hands. When the mixture lightly holds together, you are finished. If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water by the tablespoon.
5. Separate the dough into two discs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour before using.
6. When ready to use, lightly flour your work surface and roll until the disc is 2 to 3" wider than your pie dish. Gently lay it into your pie dish and you are ready to go!