Trip to Safari & Adventure Park Cebu: I know instead of I should have known! (Part 3)
Not Your Mediocre Classic Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd's Pie is a typical English dish that is made with lamb or mutton. In the United States, they have a beef-eating culture rather than a lamb-eating culture, and "shepherd's pie" is almost always made of ground beef.
My partner is a very picky eater and my most stern food critic so when he asked me if I can make him some shepherd's pie someday, I knew I had to make the best one for him!
A shepherd's pie is simply a casserole with a layer of cooked meat and vegetables, covered with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven until the mashed potatoes are well browned. Others will also call this dish a "Cottage pie" since this version uses ground beef instead of lamb.
In this version, I am using red bell peppers instead of carrots because it just gives it a more balanced flavor and not too sweet. I made another batch with carrots but my partner enjoyed the dish with the bell peppers instead.
I made this dish over and over again so there are some things that I discovered and learned all throughout the cooking process so I did some adjustments, you too can recreate the recipe whenever you feel like you need to.
So here are some few food notes you may might want to know...
The meat filling for the Shepherd's pie is better when it's a moist but not wet and dry.
It's important that you have a little liquid left in the meat filling before you bake in the oven. One of the batches I made was dry because I drained some of the excess fats from the beef while following the water ratio. It might not happen to everyone, depends on how also wet the vegetables are, and make sure not to bake it too high in oven. On the contrary, you don't want the meat filling to be too wet because it won't hold it together when you transfer it to a plate.
Since my goal for the dish was to make sure it binds together so it easily transfers to a plate, I had to pay close attention to the amount of liquid that the meat filling have.
Plus you have to consider that vegetables will create more moisture while still baking in the oven. I also noticed that the ground beef also has a few excess fats after you even bake but it's a pro coz it adds extra flavor to the dish. If the meat filling gets too wet, don't freak out, you can fix it by adding extra flour to it. That's why it's better to add the liquid little by little and adjust the wetness from there.
Although some people likes to have a lot of gravy and don't really care how it looks other than the taste of it, just go ahead and don't fuss over the food styling.
The vegetables to use for the Shepherd's pie;
I recommend buying frozen mixed vegetables because it will save you a lot of time just chopping and blanching them. I remember in one of the batches I was making, I decided to add some carrots and I didn't have any frozen o ready minced carrots and so I had to cut almost the same size as the corn kernels and ohhh boy, it felt like I should have spent my time watching one episode of Shadow and Bone on Netflix, lol!
You can also use canned vegetables, their more convenient too since they don't go bad easily and the amount per grams can also be cheaper depending on the brand.
Another thing to remember is when you use red peppers, you don't have to have to pre cook them or blanch them because they cook pretty fast and you don't want them to get lost in the dish after baking. Feel free to replace the vegetables that you want to add to the dish but I would make it simple, try not to add way too many varieties of vegetables hence it could overpower the dish. You want to have that balanced flavor of the meat and the mashed potatoes.
How many are you here cook their food without tasting them?
Well, I was one of those people when I starting to learn how to cook until I watched a lot of cooking shows and I learned that you should always taste your food. Of course, you don't want to eat raw meat, so make sure that the meat is cooked all the way through before tasting it.
This dish is perfect when you have parties or serve it during holiday, I think it's pretty looking dish. For my partner we wants to have if possible every week. So I make a big batch for myfood prep, put them in the freezer, and just pop them in the oven when he wants it for lunch or dinner...easy peasy!
If you're like me who likes to make a dish look more appealing to eat, try to add some texture on the surface of the mashed potato, I think it gives it a fancy-schmancy look like you're going to serve it to the dutchess!
I know you are already eager to know how to make the dish, so let's get some ingredients and start cooking!
For the meat filling:
600 grams (1.323 lb) of lean ground beef (90% lean)
1/2 cut of medium sized white onions (chopped)
1/8 teaspoon olive oil
5-6 minced garlic
1/2 cup red pepper
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup corn kernel
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the gravy
1 beef broth cube
1/3 - 1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons tomato puree
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons flour (or more if needed)
For the mashed potatoes:
1 1/2 lb or 0.6804 kg potatoes ( cut in cubes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup [parmesan cheese
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with a couple of inches of water then bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt to the pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Remove the cover once it comes to a boil and decrease the heat very low and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Drain the potatoes and transfer to a bowl and mashed potatoes, add butter, milk, heavy cream, salt, and pepper, combine until smooth and set aside.
- Sautee onions in a large non-stick pan with olive oil over medium heat for about three minutes or just until onions turn translucent. Add ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break the big chunk of meat.
- Reduce the heat to low then add the garlic, thyme, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add tomato puree, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce stir to combine, and cook for approximately two minutes before adding more ingredients.
- Sprinkle the meat with flour little by little, and mix well making sure there are no big clumps of flour. Cook for another two minutes.
- Melt the broth cube in a cup of hot water and stir until dissolved then add to the pan together with the mixed vegetables, simmer for about ten minutes, and set aside.
- Preheat the oven for at least fifteen minutes at 400 fahrenheit or 200 celsius.
Assemble the pie
- Pour the meat mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly. Topped with mashed potatoes, starting in the middle, and use a spoon to push down gently and make it smooth.
- To make the wave pattern, use the tins of a fork and just gently draw some waves on the mashed potatoes before sprinkling some parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese and bake at 400 fahrenheit or 200 celsius for 25 minutes or until the top turns golden brown. Let cool down for at least ten minutes before serving.
- Optional: garnish with fresh parsley
Thanks a lot for dropping by, I hope you like the recipe and if you decide to make it at home, please come back at let me know your thoughts about the dish!
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