Everyone has corned beef and cabbage in their head on St. Patrick’s Day. But another tasty dish might appeal to more people of Irish descent.
Shepherd’s pie is a savory dish made from ground lamb that originated in England, but has also made the jump to Ireland, where it has become a popular comfort food. While shepherd’s pie can be made with freshly cooked ground meat, it’s also a great way to use up leftovers from a previous meal. Shepherd’s Pie is often confused with Cottage Pie, which is very similar but tends to use beef as the meat of choice.
Many families have their own age-old Shepherd’s Pie recipes, but for those looking to cook the dish for the first time, try “Shepherd’s Pie,” courtesy of Alton Brown, who appeared on season 12 of his hit show “Good Eats”.
Yield: 8 servings
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of tomato paste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup half and half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup English peas, fresh or frozen
1. Heat the oven to 400 F.
2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch dice. Put them in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Place the saucepan over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Heat oil in 11-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and carrots and sauté until starting to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add meat, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes.
4. Sprinkle the meat with flour, toss to coat well and continue cooking for another minute. Add tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and thyme and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly until sauce thickens slightly, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, combine half and half and butter in a microwave-safe container and nuke until heated through, about 35 seconds.
6. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Mash the potatoes (a potato masher is a great tool for this, although a hand mixer will do), then add the hot half and half mixture, along with the salt and pepper. Mash until smooth, then stir in the egg yolk.
7. Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture and spread evenly in a 7 x 11 inch glass baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, starting at the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from boiling over, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place on a half baking sheet lined with parchment paper on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooking rack and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.