I pulled out my American Classics cookbook, written by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. You know, the people who test the daylights out of recipes to come up with the "Best" way to make them? So they suggested using diced lamb shoulder chops for the best flavor, which is probably true, but I've got ground beef. If I remember today I'll check the freezer in town for some lamb to add to the beef.
Then I remembered Shell's Shepherd Pie recipe that she posted back in November. It looks quite similar to the American Classics recipe, except doesn't call for wine. I like wine. The measurements are almost identical, but Shell's also adds corn. I like corn, too.
So this is what I decided. I'm going to use ground beef, and maybe some lamb. I'm going to use the Martha's topping and Shell's/American Classic's filling, with wine and Shell's corn. I won't even have to go to the store for this!
I think it will be the Best of Three Worlds. I guess we'll see. It doesn't sound very fast, but I'm still making it on a weeknight.
~~~~~I couldn't find lamb in the town freezer, but I did grab a package of ground elk. Should be interesting. And delicious!
Okay. Had there not been excitement on the way home and subsequent emailing and reporting, I would have started this dish much earlier. Oh well. You can't eat on time every night, right?
I didn't really end up following any of the three recipes, except for ingredient lists, so we'll see how this goes. It's such a mishmash of ingredients and techniques and amounts, I believe I've changed more than enough to take credit for it now! It is smelling and looking delicious...but dinner was served almost an hour late. I could have left it in the oven for 5 more minutes to get just a bit more golden, but we were hungry!
And it IS delicious! I really like how it turned out, and ate too much. Number One and H-Bomb liked it too. Sawed Off wasn't really into eating tonight, but I'm sure he would have liked it, if he had tasted it. I guess technically with the elk and beef it should be called more of a Hunter's Pie or a Ranching Hunter's Pie, a Hunting Rancher's Pie? What do you think?
Min's Shepherd Pie
Inspired by Martha Stewart, American Classics, Shell & Alton Brown!
For the topping:
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces (I don't peel potatoes)
3 parsnips (6 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup plain yogurt
salt and freshly ground pepper
For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground elk (or lamb)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium onions, chopped coarse
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup full-bodied red wine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon thyme leaves (dried, or chopped if fresh)
1 teaspoon rosemary (dried, or chopped if fresh)
1 cup peas (I used canned, drained; if frozen, thaw first)
1 cup corn (I used canned, drained; if frozen, thaw)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the topping: Place potatoes and parsnips in a medium saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and bring to a simmer. Cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, return to saucepan, add yogurt and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mash and mix together; season with pepper.
Make the filling: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add meat and start cooking. Add onions and carrots, cook until vegetables are softened and meat is browned. Add garlic, flour and tomato paste and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the broth, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until some of the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from heat. Stir peas, corn, thyme and rosemary into meat mixture and check the seasonings. Pour the meat mixture evenly into a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. With a large spoon, place the potato topping over the entire filling. Starting at the sides to ensure a tight seal, use a rubber spatula or a spoon to smooth out the potatoes and anchor them to the sides of the baking dish. (you should not see any filling).
Bake until the top turns golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.