Friday, April 23, 2010

Shepherd’s Pie-eyed

This Shepherd’s pie recipe is inspired by a dish served at a diner where I once washed dished when I was in college (Hal's ... and was the first job from which I was fired).

1½ pounds lean ground beef or lamb (neck meat is best … grind your own if you can)
2 small yellow onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ pound green beans, cleaned, deveined, halved and cooked al dente in salted water
3 large Russet potatoes peeled and quartered
½ cup milk (or cream)
3 dollops of butter
½ Tsp. thyme
5 good dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
5 or 6 more dollops of butter for the top of the mashed potatoes
Sprinkling of paprika

Boil the potatoes in a large sauce pan of water until tender. Drain well and return to a low heat. Mash these potatoes well, adding a large pinch of salt a 2 or 3 grinds of black pepper. Whip these mashed potatoes well with the milk or cream. If the potatoes appear mushy, they will tighten up as you continue whipping them over low heat. Add the first 3 dollops of butter. Stir and set aside.

In a large frying pan, add the olive oil and heat until almost smoking. Add the chopped onions. Sauté until transparent. Add the ground meat. Add the thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and the salt and pepper to taste. Cook until well browned. Add the cooked and drained green beans. Mix well. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with the mashed potatoes. Place the rest of the butter dollops on top and sprinkle with paprika. Place under the broiler and cook until the top is a golden brown. Serve with nice crusty bread and a good quality cold beer in a frosty glass. And I know it is anathema, but I also enjoy a little ketchup on the side.

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