Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shepherd's Pie -- Ground Beef # 1

We picked up the beef the Monday after Thanksgiving. Given the tons of ground beef we have to eat through, I started with a 1lb package of ground beef. It leaked all over my fridge when defrosting. First lesson learned: defrost in a plastic bag or on a plate.

The beef looked like a coarser grind than I was used to, but it cooked up nicely. I could see little white specks of fat throughout the meat, larger than I generally see when I get it from the supermarket. However, it cooked up with a lot less grease than I see when I get the 80% ground at the store.

Since I had a huge bowlful of mashed potatoes left from Thanksgiving, not to mention some celery left from making the stuff and a few carrots and parsnips remaining from the farmer's market Shepherd's Pie seemed like a good idea. (I know that many people say Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef. However, its all Shepherd's Pie to me, so deal.)

I'm a very intuitive cook. I love looking though cookbooks and reading recipes, but in the end I just through together whatever I have on hand. Measuring tends to be optional (unless I'm baking) and I can't seem to follow a recipe without tweaking it.

Shepherd's Pie is one of my thow everything together meals. I haven't found a recipe I really like, so I just toss in whatever suits my fancy that evening. Tonight the recipe when something like this:

  • 1lb gound beef
  • 1 onion chipped
  • 3-4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • some frozen corn (1/4 c?)
I browned the beef and then added the vegetables as I finished chopping them. Then I did some seasoning. Just dumped stuff in, but if I had to guess I'd say:
  • Worcestershire Sauce (maybe 2Tbs? I just pour a bunch in)
  • a couple cranks of black pepper
  • a lot of dried oregano. (1-2TBs? I take of the shaker and pour)
  • a dash of dried basil (changed my mind and decided against it)
  • a fair amount of chipotle pepper (2-3 tsp?)
  • a dash of cinnamon, since my favorite food blog recommends it with beef
Mixed it all in and cook until the carrots are almost tender. Dumped in a greased pan. Topped with (in order):
  • Some grated cheddar cheese
  • Leftover mashed potatoes. Thinned with milk and spread as thin as needed to cover the entire pan. Made designs in them using my fork.
  • Dotted with a small amount of butter
  • Dusted with Hungarian paprika
I baked it at 350F for about 30 min. It really just needs the top browned and the potatoes warmed. I should have had it on a higher rack or a higher temperature to get good browning. I forgot that I sometime just put it under the broiler. But I ran out of time and it was tasty even if it wasn't nicely browned.

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