November 30, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

My mom used to make Shepherd's Pie when I was young and it always seemed like a treat. In fact, the crusty potato top is a treat. Perfect for fall and winter, this is definitely a homey comfort food that will warm everyone up. Essentially, Shepherd's pie is baked stew topped with mashed potatoes. If you know how to make stew and mashed potatoes, then you know how to make this classic English dish. This particular version was inspired by my mom and by Sue Lawrence's Scottish Kitchen cookbook. Feel free to use whatever you've got on hand in your stew and experiment with spices. Also, if you haven't got an oven, then you can brown the potatoes in fry pan and serve atop the stew.

For the topping
  • 5 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • garlic powder to taste
  • generous inch of salt

For the stew:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned corn (thawed)
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed into bite-size pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  1. Prepare the topping: Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and add reaming ingredients. Mash well and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil and add onions. Saute until tender. Add carrots and celery, saute an additional 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (minus the flour) and simmer together for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the stew and combine well - the flour is intended to thicken the stew. You can alternatively use flax seed. Simmer a few minutes and add more flour stew is not thickened enough.
  3. Transfer Stew to a backing dish. Cover with mashed potatoes and bake for 25 minutes - or until the top is browned and the bottom is bubbling. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

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