Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shepherd's Pie on a snowy spring day

Another frequent dish that makes the rounds in our kitchen is pot pie. Usually, it consists of a store-bought crust, a can of cream of chicken soup, an onion, a couple of carrots, 1 c. of frozen peas and potatoes to fill it up.

But as I've said before and I'll say again, I do not like crust. So after I made this absolutely delicious Tailgaters' Favorite Stew last week (sorry no photos, but I guarantee you will love it!), then bought enough potatoes to feed an army, I decided it was time to throw these recipes together with the Shepherd's Pie recipe from "One Potato Two Potato" to make my own rendition.

It sure didn't hurt that "snow" was falling off and on all day. In April! On a day like that, nothing's better than a bit of comfort food.

Shepherd's Pie
4 slices bacon, diced
1 lb. stew meat, cut in 1-inch chunks
1/4 c. flour
1 t. kosher salt, divided
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 c. cayenne pepper
2 yellow onions, sliced
4 carrots, cut in chunks
4 stalks celery, cut in chunks
1 bay leaf
1 c. red wine
2 c. beef broth
2 T. corn starch
1 c. frozen peas
3 lb. potatoes
3 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream

Cook bacon in a large stock pot over medium-high heat until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Combine flour, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper and cayenne pepper in a plastic bag. Add beef chunks and shake until evenly covered. Brown beef in batches to bacon fat, about 4-5 minutes per batch. Set aside.

Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper and bay leaf and stir. Then add wine and beef broth, turn up heat and bring to a boil.

Place corn starch in a small bowl, and add a ladleful of hot liquid from the stock pot. Stir with a fork until smooth, then add slurry to stock pot. Stir until liquid has thickened, then add peas, bacon and beef and stir. Transfer contents of pot into a 13-by-9-inch glass pan.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and make mashed potatoes by boiling and then mashing potatoes, preferably with a ricer. Stir in butter and sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste, then slowly add milk as needed and smooth mashed potatoes over the top of the casserole

Cook in the oven for about 1 hour, until the top is browned. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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