My husband loves shepherd’s pie. So much so that for Valentine’s Day that is what I made him for dinner. Only there were adjustments. Here is why.
Depending on who is explaining, shepherd’s pie this meal can take on different definitions, especially on the origins. Some will say it came from the United Kingdom, or Ireland, and still others will say Scotland. Most will agree cottage pie is made with beef, and shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. All will agree that potatoes are definitely involved, which I have to admit is my favorite part of the pie.
The reason for my adjustments and incorporating all the versions is I’m not sure if I love just lamb in my pie. I, myself, like the cottage pie better but that’s not who I was cooking for that night. Plus, I do love to play with my food and so I thought why not be creative. Of course, my way of creating doesn’t always end up well either, but I do try. Unfortunately, my timing for creativity is usually during special dinners, when I have guests over, and when I am volunteering to cater a meal. That being said, John has eaten both the cottage and shepherd’s pie versions. He’s not sure which one he likes better, so I thought why not fuse them together? I did, and I have to say the dish came out splendid. John said this is his favorite version by far.
For the cheese part you will see I have Parmesan as one layer and American cheese as the top layer. John likes American cheese for this pie. When the top of the cheese browns, I have to admit I like it too.
Shepherd’s Cottage Pie
By Dina Puleo
3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground lamb
1 teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup frozen peas
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup cabernet sauvignon wine
4 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef or lamb stock
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups fresh corn, blanched
1 cup Parmesan cheese
8 – 10 slices white American cheese
Wash and cut potatoes into quarters. Steam until done. Warm the cream and butter in a pot over low heat until butter has melted. Watch so that the cream does not come to a boil. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a bowl and add the cream and butter then mash away to desired consistency. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400. Butter or spray oil inside little oven proof bowls or a 9×13 pan.
Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add in the onions and cook for another minute or two. Add the beef, lamb, pepper, and thyme. Sauté until cooked through. Drain off the fat.
Add the butter and peas. Stir in flour until mixed in. Add the wine, tomato paste, and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to blend. Add the stock and let mixture simmer until reduced to a thick sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To the bowls or pan, spoon in the meat sauce. Then layer corn, reserved mashed potatoes, and Parmesan cheese. Lay the American cheese on top.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and brown.