RecipeHacking Challenge #5: Shepherd’s Pie

12 Mar

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day next week I’m choosing a quintessentially Irish dish to hack. Shepherd’s Pie! It’s been a while so if you’ve forgotten how RecipeHacking works or are new to RecipeHacking here’s the general idea. Look back at previous posts to see how we’ve challenged our readers to hack macaroni and cheese, beans and rice, pizza, and thanksgiving leftovers.

Time to get creative in the kitchen! Tweak this Shepherd’s Pie recipe and post your creation in the comments section below. I can’t wait to see how you hack this one! Deadline for this hack is: Sunday,  March 27. The winner will win bragging rights and a small prize!

Here’s a pretty basic recipe for Shepherd’s Pie adapted from Joy of Cooking:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled, quartered, and rinsed
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided, 2 tablespoons kept chilled
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 pound raw ground lamb (for shepherd’s pie) or raw ground beef (for cottage pie) OR 1 pound finely-chopped leftover cooked lamb or beef
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary OR 1 teaspoon dried

Instructions:

Put the potato chunks in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, add a teaspoon or so of salt, and cook until tender but not waterlogged, 10-15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the potatoes. Return them to the pot and cook over low heat for a minute to remove excess water. Then mash, adding the cooking water along with 1 tablespoon butter and salt and pepper to taste. Beat with a wooden spoon until fluffy.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over a medium-low flame. When hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium and add the meat. Cook raw meat for about 10 minutes, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon; brown leftover meat for about 5 minutes, stirring for even coloration. Spoon off any fat. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, herbs, and salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Allow the meat to cool slightly.

Spread the meat in a 9-inch pie plate or baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top, making irregular peaks with the tines of a fork. Chop the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter into small pieces and scatter over the top. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and heated all the way through, 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving in the baking dish.

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12 Responses to “RecipeHacking Challenge #5: Shepherd’s Pie”

  1. Liz March 13, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Ooh, I’ve been hoping you would do a shepherd’s pie recipehack!

  2. shaboom March 14, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    i’ve been making lots of cottage pie lately. i use beef stock and Worchestershire sauce. i also add corn, peas, mushrooms, tons more onions and garlic.

  3. Kate March 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    I love the new look of your blog! I’m taking a shot at a veggie version which seems a little sacrilege to my meat loving self but here goes:

    Ingredients:

    * 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled, quartered, and rinsed
    * Salt
    * 3 tablespoons butter, divided, 2 tablespoons kept chilled
    * 1/4 cup milk
    * Freshly ground pepper
    * 3 tablespoons olive oil
    * 1 medium onion, chopped
    * 1 clove garlic, minced
    * 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
    * 2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
    * 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed
    * 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
    * 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
    * 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans cut to 1 inch
    * 1 cup frozen corn
    * 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil OR 1 teaspoon dried

    Instructions:

    Put the potato chunks in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, add a teaspoon or so of salt, and cook until tender but not waterlogged, 10-15 minutes. Drain. Add milk, 1 tablespoon butter and salt and pepper to taste and beat with a mixer (unless you are feeling ambitious, then go ahead and try a wooden spoon) until fluffy.

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for a minute or two, then add the garlic and carrots and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the zucchini and cook for another minute or two. Add the chickpeas, green beans, basil, tomatoes and water and cook until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add the corn and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

    Increase the heat to medium and add the meat.

    Spread the stew in a shallow baking dish (12x9x2 or thereabouts). Spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Chop the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter into small pieces and scatter over the top. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and heated all the way through, 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving in the baking dish.

  4. Ethan Plunkett March 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    This Recipe is a re-creation of a dish an Argentine housemate of mine used to make. I’m not sure if it’s traditional or something he made up. The meat layer is based on the filling for Emapandas Criollas which are a very common Argentine treat. Empanada filling would normally also contain hardboiled eggs which I opted to leave out here.

    Ingredients

    Bottom Layer:
    2 lb ground beef
    2 or 3 medium onions chopped (about 3/4 lb)
    1 tsp salt,
    1 cup chopped green olives
    2 T paprika
    1 T hot chili flakes
    2 T chopped garlic
    100 grams white raisins

    Top Layer:
    5 large sweet potatoes
    2 T olive oil
    salt to taste
    milk as necessary

    Very Top:
    Grated cheese (cheddar, asiago or something handy)

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 400.

    Peal, chunk, and boil the sweet potatoes until tender.

    Cook the bottom layer
    Saute onions in a pan.
    Add spices and meat and continue sauteing until the beef is cooked.
    Add raisins and green olives and remove from heat.

    Mash the sweet potatoes with olive oil adding salt to taste and milk to adjust consistency.

    Layer the meat and sweet potatoes in a pan. Optionally top with some grated cheese. Bake at 400.

    Notes:
    The quantities in this recipe are enough to fill a few large pans. You might want to halve it. I tend to do a little adjusting with the spices after the meat is cooked. Feel free to add more garlic or chili flakes then.

  5. The challenged cook March 29, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    I’m a new follower, and this is the first I’ve read about recipe hacking. What a cool idea. I’m not vegan, but do try to limit my animal products, and I love to use fewer ingredients wherever possible. This my favorite dish to make when I won’t be home to cook, but want to leave something nourishing for my family. It’s also the perfect “get well” gift for hippies. 
    5 INGREDIENT VEGAN SHEPHERDS PIE
    -1 medium sweet potato 
    -1cup uncooked, rinsed, drained red lentils 
    -1/4 cup tomato paste
    -2 cloves crushed garlic
    -1/4 cup sesame seeds

    Chop the sweet potato into small cubes and boil until soft (about 10min)
    At the same time, in a separate saucepan, gently fry the crushed garlic in a little oil. Add the lentils and stir until the garlic is well mixed, then stir in the tomato paste and about 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil, then lower heat and cook until lentils soften, adding extra water if needed. 
    Drain sweet potato and mash while still hot. If the mixture is very stiff add a little of the cooking water. 
    Pour cooked lentil mixture into ovenproof dish, top with sweet potato, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in hot oven for 10min if it’s all still hot, or 30min in medium oven if it’s been left to cool. Serve with plenty of salt and pepper, a big green salad, and plenty of crusty bread. 

  6. Adrienne Stearns March 29, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Tortilla Pastores Pie de Carne
    (Shepherds Tortilla Pie with Meat)

    4-10in tortillas
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1 med onion chopped
    3 cloves garlic chopped
    1 Tbsp chili powder
    1 tsp ground cumin
    salt
    1 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
    1 1/2 c. mild thick salsa
    8 oz grated cheddar cheese
    Sour cream

    Preheat oven to 450. Heat each tortilla in hot skillet coated with olive oil, turn once, until golden. Set aside on paper towels.

    Heat olive oil in skillet. Saute onion for several minutes, then add garlic, spices, & salt. Cook 2 more minutes. Add ground meat & saute until cooked through-about 5 min. Add 1/2 c salsa (drain off some of the liquid if very watery) and simmer until most of liquid has evaporated about 10 minutes. Drain mixture on paper towel.

    Place a tortilla in an oiled baking dish. Top with meat mixture, salsa and cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers. Top with 4th tortilla and shredded cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes. Top with sour cream and more sals if desired. Serve to a shepherd or better yet, eat it yourself-serves 4.

  7. Katy March 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    My boyfriend grew up eating a French Canadian variation on Shepherd’s Pie that is known in Canada as pate chinois and in heavily French Canadian parts of New England (Maine, the Merrimack Valley mill towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and so on) as Chinese pie. My understanding is that it’s ground beef under a layer of corn (often canned corn) baked with a mashed potato crust. Sometimes there are onions.

    Chinese pie is a really basic dish from a poorer time. I don’t know if it has a connection to shepherd’s pie or whether it’s a similar idea that evolved separately, but either way, I thought it would be of interest.

    • Shawn March 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

      That’s what passed for Shepherd’s Pie in our school lunchroom in Rhode Island. I used to love it! Definitely canned corn, though…

  8. Liz March 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I do a southwestern shepherd’s pie that we really like at our house. Is it cheating to enter by link?

    http://www.gardenvarietymama.com/2010/10/recipeshare-southwestern-shepherds-pie.html

  9. Shawn March 31, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    We tried a Greek version, only because I love Greek lamb dishes.

    1 lb ground lamb
    1 cup sliced pitted black olives
    1 large tomato, chopped into cubes
    1 medium onion, chopped
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 large Yukon gold potato, thinly sliced
    1 medium eggplant, cubed
    1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp dried mint
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 tsp dried basil
    1/2 tsp dried marjoram
    olive oil
    salt and pepper
    Feta cheese crumbles

    Cube eggplant and toss with olive oil and spices. Spread on baking sheet and low broil for about 10 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through. While eggplant is cooking, saute onion and garlic with olive oil, set aside when soft and fragrant. Saute lamb in empty pan until brown, drain fat. Return garlic and onion to cooked lamb, add tomato, olives, and broiled eggplant. Mix on low heat until combined and tomatoes have softened slightly. Salt and pepper to taste, and put mixture into a baking dish.

    Preheat oven to 400.

    Place potato slices on a plate and “par-cook” by microwave for about 1 minute until soft but not broken. Place potato slices over lamb mixture, spray or brush lightly with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked and lightly browned.

    Spoon into bowls, cover with feta crumbles, and serve with salad and toasted pita wedges!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. RecipeHacking Deadline Extended! « Kitchen Dancing - March 28, 2011

    […] is the original post in case you need a […]

  2. RecipeHacking Challenge # 6: Burritos « Kitchen Dancing - May 4, 2011

    […] If you’re unfamiliar with RecipeHacking here’s the basic premise. If you’re interested, you can look back at previous posts to see how we’ve challenged our readers to hack macaroni and cheese, beans and rice, pizza, thanksgiving leftovers, and shepherd’s pie. […]

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