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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shepherds Pie (Cottage Pie)

I crave a Shepherds Pie in the winter and it's no wonder since this recipe is from Britain where they have very cold winters. What better way to flee the frigid cold than in your own cozy kitchen with a plateful of steaming hot potatoes, meat, and melted cheese! The key to a good simple dish like this is to use very good quality ingredients and since you do have so few ingredients this is do-able. The addition of mushrooms and red wine make this simple meal something you can serve to guests.
This recipe will feed 6 hungry people!
1 pound ground beef (Since such a small amount feeds a large amount of people I try to buy the best ground beef possible like organically grown or natural hormone free beef.)
olive oil
1 large onion (Chopped fine.)

2 carrots (Chopped into bite size pieces.)
2 stalks of celery (Chopped into bite size pieces)
2 garlic cloves (Crushed and minced fine.)
*Optional: 1 cup mushrooms  (Wiped clean, stems removed, and chopped bite size .)
2/3 cup cup red or white wine
1 teaspoon salt
plenty of black pepper
1 tablespoon flour
a few sprigs of fresh thyme or1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated (Again use a good quality cheese like Vermont Cheddar.)
Butter a large baking dish and set aside. Peel and chop potatoes (You can do this in the morning or night before and keep fresh by covering in water and placing in fridge.) and boil until tender when poked with a fork, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat up a skillet and coat with oil. Add onion, garlic, and all of the veggies and saute until soft.
Add wine and allow to reduce a bit. Add meat cooking until just done. If you use a good lean meat you won't have to drain off the fat but if is too fat for you just use some paper towels straight in the pan to soak them up, I usually do this with a pair of tongs.
Add the flour and all of the herbs and spices including salt & pepper and spice mixture if you choose to use it.
Cook for a few minutes stirring to make sure and scrape up the yummy bits from the bottom to mix in. Remove from heat and set aside. Taste and see if it needs more slat.
Mash the still warm potatoes and add butter, salt, and pepper mixing together.
Add 1 of the cups of cheese and mix in. Taste for salt.
Lay the meat mixture into a buttered baking dish and then plop the potatoes on top spreading out with the back of a spoon.
Add the other cup of cheese on top and bake at 400 for 45 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden delicious!

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