Monday, December 5, 2011

Dressed Up Shepard's Pie

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Shepard's Pie? If it's comfort food, we're on the same page. Shepard's pie is easy to make and just makes you feel good. The ground beef, the mashed potatoes, what's not to like? Originally shepard's pie was called so because it was made by shepard's using, well, what else? Lamb meat. Although I think of lamb as the meat of meats, I don't know if I would love it as much as I love the cheaper version of basic ground beef. I could be wrong, but my take is that lamb meat is so delicate and gamey that I think the slightly sweeter tomato flavors in the sauce of  the shepard's pie recipe would overpower the lamb, so there would really be no point in using lamb meat.

So here is my idea of a dressed up shepard's pie. Instead of mashed potatoes, I topped my ground beef with paper thin slices of potatoes brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with dill. All the flavors are still there, but you get a slightly crisp crust with all the soft and buttery potato goodness. Another thing I changed was that I added red beans to the meat to make it heartier since the mashed potatoes are not there to do so. It works really well here. I think England would be proud.   This recipe idea has been in my head for a really long time. The delay of getting out was a debate of if I should do layers or just do the original meat on the bottom, potatoes on top. I think that layers of ground beef, and thinly sliced potatoes, a few times would also be wonderful. I just went the easy route, as I have three hungry boys to feed in under an hour!

I hope this recipe will bring your lots of comfort and that you enjoy it as much as I do!

Dressed Up Shepard's Pie
Serves 4

2lbs ground beef
4-5 small potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, and sliced paper thin using a mandolin
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill chopped
1 can red beans
1 small can tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
4 tbsp. olive oil.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in large skillet over medium high heat, and fry onion until translucent. Add beef and cook for 3 minutes. Add beans and continue to cook, stirring often for another 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, ketchup and spices and cook until meat is cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Pour into a baking dish and flatten out evenly. Decoratively layer the potatoes over the meat. Brush with remaining olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle with dill. Broil on high for 10 minutes or until the potatoes get crisp and golden in color.

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