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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Shepherd's Pie

We love a tasty Shepherd's Pie around here-- or, as my kids call it en francais "Pâté Chinois", which is a terribly confusing name.  The end result is the same regardless of the name - a tasty, rich, meat and veggie-filled bottom covered by mashed potatoes and then baked.  I find there are two methods to go about making Shepherd's Pie - one that allows the meats and veggies to simmer for awhile, which lends a depth to the flavors, or you can just simmer it 5-10 minutes and then bake, which cuts down drastically on the cooking time and the end result is still scrumptious.   Just go with whichever version you have time for.  Enjoy!  
Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie
Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie, baking in the oven

Shepherd's Pie
Serves 6-8
Based on a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks (brought back from England) 'Comfort Foods' by Bridget Jones
Makes enough for one 9x13 pan (or pan of equivalent volume).  

In a large frying pan/sauce pan cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes: 
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced

Add and cook until meat is fully cooked:  
1 lb. ground beef

Add the following, then simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and simmer an additional 10 minutes. (make mashed potatoes, instructions below, while meat/veggies are simmering) - *NOTE: if you're short on time, just let this simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.  However, I prefer the taste when the flavors have a change to simmer together for the full 40 minutes.*
2 Tbsp tomato paste 
2 cups beef broth 
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce 
1 tsp salt (unless broth has salt, then do NOT add) 
1/2 tsp pepper 
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 tsp thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced

Optional: during last 5 minutes of simmering uncovered, add 1/2 - 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

Mix together, then add to bubbling meat/veggies: 
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp cornstarch

Pour into baking dish (I usually use a smaller, deeper dish than a 9x13 pan, but one similar in terms of total volume - I used a deep frying pan that is good for both oven and stovetop in the pictures).    Top as evenly as possible with mashed potatoes (from below, made while veggies/meat are simmering).  

Bake at 375 F for ~30 minutes, until bubbling nicely and top of potatoes are just browning.   Serve & enjoy your rich, delicious comfort food!  If you're not happy with how browned the mashed potatoes look on top, throw it under the broiler for a minute or two after baking, just to crisp the top of the potatoes.  

Mashed potatoes to top shepherd's pie

Boil in salted water ~10-12 minutes: 
3 lbs potatoes, diced (skins on if thin-skinned)

Strain and mash with:
 1/3 cup butter 
1/4 cup milk 
pepper, to taste 
1/2 tsp dried tarragon (optional, but I LOVE it). 

Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie
I like to let it brown a bit extra on top, but it's just personal preference how lightly browned you let the potatoes get. Either way is great!

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