Friday, March 14, 2014

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

It’s March 14th so it’s Pi Day again.  It’s the day when the math geeks celebrate with arithmetic while the foodies bake pie.  This year, rather than to bake a traditional pie, I decided to do a shepherd’s pie instead.  Yes I’m still trying to limit my consumption of sweets and treats.  The bikini weather is coming quickly.  Don’t worry the sweets are coming soon.  In the summer when I can get out more I’ll be baking more.  It’s easier for me to maintain a healthy diet when I'm bringing the treats to other people’s houses.  But I digress.  Most shepherd’s pies are topped with mashed potatoes but today, in celebration of St Paddy’s day this weekend, I've topped my pie with colcannon.  Adding cabbage or kale to the potatoes not only adds a nice green color, befitting of the celebration, it also adds the extra nutrition of a cruciferous vegetable.   Plus colcannon is the epitome of Irish comfort food.  So let’s throw this together before Spring moves in and we transition to the lighter fare.

Irish Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time: 40 min
Bake time: 25 min

Ingredients for the Meat Layer
  • 1 ½ lbs ground meat (I used beef, pork, and veal)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup red wine (gluten free ale would be better)
  • corn starch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water)
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the Colcannon
  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 4 cup kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 3 spring onions chopped
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190 °C.
  2. In a skillet over a medium high heat, crumble the ground meat and sauté until it starts to brown then add the onion, garlic and carrot along with some salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Continue sautéing until all the meat is nicely browned and the veggies begin to wilt and develop a bit of color then stir in the wine and let it simmer for about 5 minutes until the bottom of the pan is almost dry.
  4. Add the water and bring it up to a boil then stir in the cornstarch slurry and taste the sauce to adjust the seasonings.  Add whatever seasonings you want but I just kept it simple with salt and pepper.
  5. Let it simmer for 3 or 4 minutes or until it’s thickened then stir in 1 cup of frozen peas, remove it from heat.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of a greased casserole dish then smooth it out into an even layer and set it aside.
  7. To make the colcannon sauté the chopped kale with a tablespoon of butter and some salt and pepper until the kale has wilted to about half its original size then add the spring onions and saute for another 3 minutes then set it aside.
  8. Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender then drain and mashed with the butter, salt and pepper.
  9. Whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream then stir it into the potatoes.
  10. Stir in the sauteed kale mixture until you have a homogenous mix then add dollops of the mixture over the top of the meat and veggies and using the back of a spoon or fork spread it around until it covers the top. 
  11. Dot the top with butter and bake for 25 minutes or until it’s brown and bubbly then let it cool for about 15 minutes to set and then serve.

  • Traditionally lamb would be used in this recipe.
  • If you have a gluten free ale it would be more authentic than using red wine.

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