Note: This post was updated in February 2014 after the recipe was featured in the Anchorage Daily News.
Weather: 26 degrees, massive snowflakes falling
What I’m listening to: Hawk Nelson, Christmas
“While shepherd’s watched their flocks by night…” Shepherds pop up this time of year everywhere – in our music, in our decor, in our Nativity scenes… why not give them a nod in our food, too? This hearty, rustic one-dish meal has been around for centuries and is ideal cozy winter food. It’s to red-meat what pot pie is to poultry.
It was originally named Shepherd’s Pie because it was made with lamb or mutton. There is some debate as to whether one can legitimately call it Shepherd’s Pie if it’s made with another protein, but I think the real spirit of the dish is to use what you have on hand (which, for shepherds, was lamb). Here in Alaska, it’s moose or caribou or bear. But, I still call it Shepherd’s Pie, although I think Hunter’s Pie is probably more fitting. Wherever you are, feel free to use what you have on hand whether it’s ground beef, lamb, or venison, etc. It’s mighty tasty eats.
Adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network
Yields: 6 generous servings
- For the potato layer:
- 1-1/2lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4c butter, melted
- 1/4c milk
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1/3c grated cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
- For the meat layer:
- Canola oil, swirl of the pan
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2lb lean ground red meat of your choice (I used moose)
- salt and pepper
- 2T flour
- 1T tomato paste
- 2t worcestershire sauce
- 2T ketchup
- 1c beef broth
- 1/2t rosemary
- 1/4t thyme
- 1/2c peas, fresh or frozen
- 1/2c corn, fresh or canned
Place potatoes in a pot of salted water, enough to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering about 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain.
Mix egg yolk in with milk. Mash or whip potatoes with butter and egg/milk mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
!For Meat Filling:
Preheat oven to 400.
Put a large frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and, when hot, add onions and carrots. Cook 3 minutes. Toss in garlic. Cook another minute. Add meat and brown. Season generously with salt and pepper.
When meat is brown, sprinkle the meat with flour and stir. Add the tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and beef broth. Add herbs and veggies. Remove from heat.
In a 9inch deep-dish pie plate or oblong casserole, pour the meat mixture into dish. Spread the potatoes over top of the meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake 25 minutes or until potatoes and cheese begin to brown. Serve.