Thursday, September 10, 2009

Comfort Food - Shepherd's Pie

Looking forward I know there will be days when comfort food is the only answer. We all have our own ideas of comfort foods. In my life, I think of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, chili, spaghetti, and my mom’s tuna casserole. Notice all the serotonin-raising carbohydrates on my list? Oh well… One warm and soothing dish I made often when my kids were growing up is Shepherd’s Pie. Mine is a simple version – lean, ground beef with sautéed vegetables and a crown of seasoned mashed potatoes baked to golden goodness – but there are many renditions out there and you can make up your own. It’s one comprehensive slice of at least three food groups – add some ice cream for dessert and you’re all set!

Shepherd’s Pie

• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 large onion of your choice, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 2 lbs. lean ground beef
• Worcestershire sauce – a tablespoon or so
• Cracked black pepper
• Salt
• 3-4 cups vegetables of your choice, sautéed in the pan you used for the beef. I use peas and carrots, but you can use anything you want.
• Mashed potatoes to serve 8 people

In large skillet over a medium flame, heat olive oil and add onions. Cook onions until they’re translucent. Add garlic, and sauté just until it begins to turn golden. Immediately add beef and break it up with a wooden spoon until it’s evenly browned and no longer pink. Add Worcestershire sauce, cracked pepper and salt to taste. Gather all the meat to one side of the pan, tilt it a little, and with a spoon, remove excess juices.

Line bottom of buttered casserole dish with a thin layer of mashed potatoes. Layer all of beef mixture above. Add the layer of sautéed vegetables and, finally, the mashed potatoes. Swirl them a little bit to make a peak here and there. Bake in a 350˚ F oven until the tips of the mashed potatoes are beginning to brown, some time between 30 and 40 minutes.

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