Me: It's made with lamb - apparently that's the traditional way.
Shawn/neighbors start joking about the shepherd's cooking their flock when they die.
Now I get it - shepherd's herd sheep......and yes I manage a multi-million dollar company. Who knew?????
I'm not a fan of shepherd's pie at all. In fact I could care less if I ever eat a potato again. But every now and then my nice wifey-ness comes out and I make something for Shawn that he likes (potatoes). And this recipe was fairly quick - and actually kind of tasty. Note that I did put cheddar on top - everything is better with cheese.
I also only made 1/3 of the recipe - since that's all the lamb that I had in the house....now if I was a shepherd, apparently I could go outside and just get another ;)
Verdict from the peanut gallery - tasted great - but tasted even better the next day for lunch.
Shepherd's Pie (adapted from Food and Wine magazine)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds ground lamb
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, cut into 1/3-inch dice
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1/3-inch dice
2 large celery ribs, cut into 1/3-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 3-inch rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
3 large garlic cloves, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Make the filling: Set a colander over a bowl. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the lamb, season with salt and pepper and brown over high heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes. Transfer the lamb to the colander; wipe out the casserole.
2. Melt the butter in the casserole. Add the onion, turnips, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Return the lamb to the casserole. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the lamb to eight 1 1/2-cup ramekins or gratin dishes. Let cool.
4. Make the topping: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, butter, oil, rosemary, bay leaf, thyme and a pinch of nutmeg and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water. Add the garlic and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until the potatoes are tender, 12 minutes; drain. Return the potatoes and garlic to the saucepan and shake over high heat until dry. Pass the potatoes and garlic through a ricer into a large bowl. Strain the milk mixture over the potatoes and stir it in. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Spread the mashed potatoes over the lamb. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling. Preheat the broiler. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, until browned. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.