Non-Traditional Shepherds Pie
This version of Shepherds Pie is rich, creamy, savory, and plum full of delicious ingredients. This version uses ground beef rather than ground lamb, which is simply because beef is easier to find here in Alberta. I also chose to leave out the peas and corn, which many people consider necessary in a shepherds pie. I added a few different flavours instead and created this delicious, hearty dish! Enjoy!
In a large oven safe pan, dutch oven, other large walled skilled, or wide bottomed pot, add 3 table spoons of butter and a little bit of olive oil. Put the pan over medium heat and chop the vegetables while the butter/olive oil melts. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the melted butter and let them cook down for approximately 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and rosemary, stir them into the rest of the veg, and then make a well in the middle of the pot. I do this by pushing all of the contents around the sides until there is a good sized portion of the bottom of the pot showing. Add a bit more olive oil, and then add the ground beef to the center of the pot. Break it up with a wooden spoon, allow it to brown and get a little bit crispy, if that is what you like.
Once the ground beef is cooked, stir the contents of the pot all together and make sure everything is bite sized. At this point, the mixture should be quite moist and have some liquid within. If it isn't, feel free to add a bit more olive oil. Add the half cup of flour and mix it in, creating somewhat of a roux. You may need to add more or less flour in order to reach the right consistency. The mixture should be 'gummy' and stick together in lumps, kind of like a paste. It is important to 'cook out the flour' which is just a way to ensure that the flour taste will not carry into the dish. While the mixture is cooking, it is time to add the 'spices'. Stir in the grainy mustard (or dijon), paprika, worchestershire sauce, and lime juice. Be sure to season with salt and pepper at this point.
Once the roux has been stirred and cooked for around 2 minutes, it is time to add the beer. I prefer using a darker beer, something that is not fruity or citrus tasting. Mix the beer in, and allow the mixture to thicken. Once the beer has been absorbed, add in the beef stock. Turn up the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling for a few minutes, turn down the heat to low and allow it to simmer. Preheat the oven to 400, cover the mixture, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or more.
While the mixture is simmering, you can prepare the mashed potato topping. In a large bowl, add 4 cups of mashed potato. Left over mashed potato works perfectly here, but feel free to use fresh mashed potato as well! Add both eggs to the potatos and stir well, making sure they are fully incorporated. Stir in the shredded parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper.
Now that the ground beef mixture has been simmering, it should be quite thick and gravy like! If that is the case, it is time to add the mashed potatoes on top. I place dollops of the mash all around the dish so that it is easier to spread them out evenly. I use a spoon to smooth out the mashed potatoes and then, sometimes, I use a fork to create some kind of design! Bake in the oven, uncovered, at 400 for approximately 20 minutes, or until the potatoes turn brown and crispy! Yum!
Once it is done, let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, then garnish with a sprinkling of chives!
Let me know if you try this recipe, and be sure to come back for more!
Thanks for reading,