Friday, November 13, 2009

Apparently, a common misconception is that shepherd's pie is made with mutton or lamb, whereas a cottage pie is made with beef. According to the Wikipedia entry for cottage pie, however, it seems that this is an example of folk etymology. Whatever the case, it makes for another great feeds-many, not-too-overly-pricey food.

My last attempt at shepherd's pie happened shortly after moved out on my own, and was an oddly flavourless concoction. This, despite being moussaka-inspired, using cinnamon amongst its seasonings. I attributed the blandness to the lack of onion. Thankfully, I wasn't keeping a food-related blog at the time, and so, didn't feel obligated to report on its failing.

My most recent attempt, assembled on Wednesday night, turned out much better. Recipe follows.
  • approx. 1 lb. organic beef roast, minced in the food processor

  • two organic yellow onions, chopped

  • approx. 1-1/2 cups beef stock (I used reconstituted concentrated beef stock)

  • chopped organic carrots

  • Ontario peas, pre-frozen

  • 8 medium-large organic yellow potatoes, peeled and halved

  • vegan margarine

  1. Put the potatoes in a large stock pot, add water until just covering potatoes. Boil until potatoes are fork-tender.

  2. Drain potatoes, add margarine (or, for you dairy-ingesters, butter and milk) and mash until smooth. Add salt to taste. Set aside for later.

  3. Brown the onions in a large skillet/sauté pan, set aside.

  4. In the pan which cooked the onions, brown the beef. Avoid adding salt. Once the beef is browned, add the stock, onions and carrots.

  5. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the stock has mostly evaporated. Turn off the heat and stir in the peas.

  6. Spoon/pour the beef mixture into a casserole dish, top with mashed potatoes. Cook in a 350º oven for about an hour. Allow shepherd's pie to cool.




At Fri Nov 13, 04:27:00 pm GMT-5, Blogger Emma said...

Austin likes to add creamed corn (which, I didn't realize, doesn't contain cream!)

Wanna know something odd? I use to think shepherd's pie contained tomatoes so my early attempts looked more like bolognese sauce with mashed potato on top. It never seemed quite right though. Eventually I figured it out.

At Sat Nov 14, 01:27:00 pm GMT-5, Blogger ghanima said...

From the Wikipedia link found above:

"In New England the most common recipe for shepherd's pie consists of ground beef, canned creamed corn, and mashed potatoes."

I was tempted to throw at least a few tomatoes in this time, but opted against it, given the poor results from my last attempt at experimenting.

At Sun Nov 15, 09:51:00 pm GMT-5, Anonymous Wanda said...

I actually learned that on the FOOD network recently. Creamed corn doesn't have cream. I think it's a mixture of corn with its own juice (there is a process - I saw it on the show).

At Mon Nov 16, 01:59:00 pm GMT-5, Blogger MiraFabulous said...

I have often heared that Shepherd's pie is made with lamb, and that Cottage pie is the ground beef version.

I was certain it was truth and not folklore.
Thanks for clarifying!

At Tue Nov 17, 02:14:00 am GMT-5, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey i typed the lyrics to one of my favorite radiohead songs and this page came up...crazy

I really appreciate how you quote "How can you be sure" throughout the page!

At Tue Nov 17, 08:53:00 am GMT-5, Blogger ghanima said...

@Anonymous: I've made no secret of my love of Radiohead on this blog, but you're probably the first person to catch that the title is a direct reference to a favourite song. It seemed apt, given that I post mostly about food or music.


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