Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shepherd's Pie........Quick And Easy

Good ol' " English School" of Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt fed us many a time this shepherd's pie because it is cheap, filling, and has lots of vitamins from the meat and the potatoes. I was a "day boy"meaning I had lunch at school but returned home for the night. When I made "prefect" I ate with the professors at "Head Table" . I remember I belonged to the Amazon House. Wow good old days. British habits.
Shepherd's pie is made with meat and potatoes not beside each other but one on top of the other, potatoes on top, and baked till the potatoes brown on the surface.
Easier even if it is made with left over mashed potatoes, and left over ground meat sauce (omitting the juices)
Life has become so fast nowadays that we sometimes do not feel like cooking or do not have the time to prepare complicated stuff so we can use leftovers to make up new dishes.
However, if you feel like making a decent shepherd's pie, you will have to start from scratch.
You will need:
Serves 4 - 6
For the mashed potatoes:
-  1 kg of potatoes, peeled, washed, cut, boiled till they fall apart and drained.
-  1.5 cups of milk or fresh cream whichever you prefer.
-  50 gms of fresh butter.
-  Salt, white pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg if you wish.
For the ground beef:
-  1.5 kg of lamb or beef ground as thickly as possible.
-  1 onion  roughly chopped.
-  2 carrots thinly sliced.
-   2 celery sticks chopped.
-  Some olive oil
-  1 small can 250 ml of skinned tomatoes.
-  1/2 tsp. sugar.
-  Salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce (indispensable in every home)
Method: 
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C.
For the Mashed Potatoes:
-  Mash drained potatoes with the potato masher shown in my yesterday's recipe.
-  Add milk, stir, then add the butter, stir and mix. (The heat of the boiled potatoes will melt the butter).
For the ground beef:
-  In a frying pan, heat olive oil, add onions, carrots, and celery. Stir till they are all soft.
-  Add ground lamb or beef,  stir and cook meat on all sides to brown. Add the Worcestershire sauce, stir.
-  Add tomatoes, and half tsp. of sugar, to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
-  Stir, mix and bring to a boil,  cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
-  Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish and add the meat on the bottom. The meat should be dry, no liquids.
-  Cover with the mashed potatoes.
-  Grind some pepper on top and bake for minimum of 30 minutes or till the mashed potatoes have taken a nice brownish color. In fact you can try brushing some beaten egg on top of the mashed potatoes before you bake.
Et Voila!
Enjoy this hot meal on a cold early March evening.
Stelio
P.S.  I would like to congratulate and commend "The Delicious Sophie Dhal" for her beautiful and most romantic TV program and for her version of Shepherd's Pie.
Read more: http://www.blogdoctor.me/2007/02/expandable-post-summaries.html#ixzz1QI9F1mh2