Monday, April 8, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie - a dish I had only read about in what I remember to be Enid Blyton's story books (probably the Famous Five or one of the many other adventure books and series she wrote). A month or so back, I wanted to do something creative with the ground beef I had in my freezer, and decided to experiment with Shepherd's Pie, described by Wikipedia as "a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato".

Outlined below is my version of the Shepherd's Pie - the basics were developed by following the recipe here. This was my second attempt at it - the success of the first attempt encouraged me to give it another shot and add a bit more flavor to the meat.

Note: Any measurements are approximations, or could possibly be totally erroneous (especially when it comes to adding cooking oil or spices), since I pay very little attention to how much I'm putting in of each thing...

Without further ado,

Ingredients (for the meat):

  • 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning (oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, etc.)
  • Salt
  • 300-350g Frozen Vegetables (mix of peas, carrots, corn, green beans and lima beans)
  • Cooking oil
  • Butter

Ingredients (for the mashed potato topping):

  • 1 large potato, peeled, chopped and boiled
  • Cream Cheese (I used Roasted Garlic and Herb Cheese)
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Pepper
  • Shredded cheese

Doing the mashed potatoes and the ground beef simultaneously saves a lot of time, compared to doing one and then the other...

The meat base:

  • In a frying pan, add cooking oil and about a tablespoon of butter. Sauteed the chopped onions and garlic, until slightly brown. Remove from stove.
  • In a cooking pot/pan (I used a wok... ), add about 2-3 table spoons of oil. Add the meat, and starting cooking over medium heat. Break up the ground beef (with a wooden spoon) to prevent any lumps from forming.
  • Add salt, paprika, red chili, coriander and pepper to the meat. Then add the sauteed garlic and onions. Finally, add the Italian seasoning. Keep cooking over medium heat until the ground beef loses its pinkishness. Turn the stove to low heat once it starts to brown.
  • In a pot, add the frozen vegetables and enough water to cover them. Put on the stove on high heat. About 6 minutes after the water reaches a boil, remove the vegetables and pass through a sieve to strain any water. Add the vegetables to the meat. (I kept my wok containing the meat on the stove on low heat until I was ready to progress to the baking stage).

The mashed potatoes:

  • In a bowl, thoroughly mash the boiled potatoes with pepper, cream cheese, butter and milk (until it forms a creamy texture).
  • Add Italian seasoning and paprika (optional).

The baking stage:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  • Grease a baking tray or dish. I use a 9-inch square baking tray.
  • Add the meat and vegetable mixture to the tray, and press down with spoon/spatula.

  • Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the ground beef. Add some shredded cheese (optional).

  • Put the tray in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes (until the potato starts to brown).

  • Cut into six or eight pieces (or more, depending on tray/dish size).
  • Serve/Eat. Enjoy!

Questions are welcome!

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