Group: Celtic Nation
So my grandmother passed down this version of Shepherd's Pie to me, and after having so many people who've tried it absolutely love it, I thought I'd share the food-love myself. This woman had no thought whatsoever for calories, fat content, etc- so of course it tastes great!
1 bag of russet potatoes, washed, & half-peeled, cut into large cubes.
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and with small holes poked in them.
1 stick of butter (or margarine).
1/2 bag of shredded colby-jack cheese.
1 small carton (half-pint?) of light cream.
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Get the potatoes prepaired as mentioned above, you don't need to use quite so many potatoes if you wish, but I've always loved it with a nice, thick, potato layer.
After they're cut into the cubes, but them in a large pot of cold water, along with the 4 cloves of garlic, cover, and set on the stove to boil on high. When they begin to boil, bring the temperature down to medium, and check them occasionally until they're done.
When they're soft and mashable, drain all the water from them, leaving the garlic cloves in as well. With a hand masher, add the whole stick of butter at once, and start to slowly add the cream, mashing as you go. Just keep adding the cream until it's whatever consistancy you prefer, but not so runny as to not be able to spread it in a thick layer. Add salt & pepper to taste, and then add the half-bag of cheese, stir to melt, cover. (I usually do the potatoes as I'm doing the filling, so that by the time the filling is done, the potatoes either just have to be mashed, or they're already just back on a warm burner.)
2 lbs of ground lamb or beef.
1/2 of a vidalia onion, chopped fine.
3 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped fine.
1 small can of tomato paste (plain).
1/2 cup of water (or if you prefer, Guinness or a dry red wine).
A good large pinch (I don't really know how much this would be in measurements, since she and I both cook by eyeballing everything) of dried or fresh rosemary, thyme, & sage, as well as much smaller pinches of allspice & nutmeg. Also, salt & pepper to taste.
1 small bag each of frozen peas, chopped carrots, & corn (I use frozen even though canned would work, because of the obviously better quality. Also, I personally don't like lima beans, so instead of getting the bag of mixed veggies, I just get 3 separate small ones).
1/4 stick of butter
So start out by in a large dutch-oven or another large pot melting the butter over medium-high heat.
Add in the onions & garlic, and get them nice and soft before adding the meat. Brown the meat, and add the whole small can of plain tomato paste.
Stir, and while stirring, add the chosen liquid (feel free to add more if necessary). Make sure that if you're using an alcohol, that you cook it off very well on a high heat, stirring constantly to ensure that it wont burn.
Add the spices at this point, let it simmer a little while on a medium-low heat, and taste. Add more if needed, and if too salty, just add a little more liquid. You don't want it soupy, but you definitely want a little bit of juice to it.
Once all the alcohol has cooked off, add the three bags of veggies, stirring them in to cook. Add about a tsp of water more on top of them, cover, and make sure everything is set to low; whilst stirring occassionally.
Once the veggies are hot and completely incorporated, start adding the potatoes.
Using a spatula, or spreader, or a large, shallow, wooden spoon; start in the middle of the filling in the dutch oven/pot, by taking a large scoop of potatoes and adding them in the middle. Then place around the potatoes in the middle, more potatoes around the outside, creating a "x" shape with the potatoes in the filling. Begin to spread those out, adding more in the gaps. If you think you have too much potato, you probably don't, unless you've already gotten to the very tippy-top of the pot of filling. Just keep adding the potatoes and spreading them out until they create a nice, thick layer. Once all (or most) of the potatoes are on the filling, sprinkle if you wish with a little bit of paprika.
This is also great with a bit of chunky applesauce, or even a bit of butternut squash, peeled, cubed, and boiled until soft, and then mashed with plenty of butter, sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg.
I hope everyone who tries it enjoys!