I know that I mentioned how much I love to cook but did I mention that I also love to read? My favorite books are murder mysteries. Put those two hobbies together and you will understand my love of Diane Mott Davidson's books. The main character in her books is a Colorado caterer by the name of Goldie Schultz. In each of her books, Diane offers up several interesting recipes. I love reading the recipes but I have never tried making one until my son looked through Diane's latest book (which happened to be on my bookshelf) and found the recipe for Unorthodox Shepherd's Pie. He kept asking me to make it. I finally relented. I am so glad that I did. It is scrumptiously delicious. All of the recipes in Diane's books can be found on her website http://homepage.mac.com/ezzellk/Recipes/davidson/.
Unorthodox Shepherd's Pie
· 2 pounds lean ground beef
· 2 cups chopped onions
· 2 cups chopped celery
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp
· 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
· 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
· ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
· 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, or to taste
· ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
· 1 cup frozen baby peas
· 1 cup frozen baby corn
· 4 ½ pounds russet potatoes
· 1 ½ cups half and half
· 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
· ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
· additional sea salt, to taste
· additional freshly ground black pepper, to taste
· ½ stick unsalted butter, cut into bits
In a very large sauté pan, sauté the ground beef, onions, and celery in the oil over medium heat until the beef is browned and the vegetables are limp. Add the flour and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture begins to bubble. slowly add the chicken stock. Stir until completely combined, then stir in the thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the mixture is bubbling and thickened. Stir in the peas and corn and set aside.
Bring a large quantity of salted water to boiling. Peel the potatoes and drop them into the water. cook for about 40-45 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half until it is steaming, but not boiling.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch deep-dish pie plates. Grease or line a baking sheet.
Remove the potatoes from the heat, drain, and place them in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Begin to beat the potatoes on low speed, slowly adding the hot half-and-half, the cheese, and the additional salt and pepper.
Place half the beef mixture in each of the prepared pie plates. Place half the potato mixture on top of the beef. Scatter half the butter bits on top of each potato mixture. Sprinkle generously with paprika.
Place the pies on the baking sheet and place them in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and the pies are completely heated through.
I had never made shepherd's pie before because I thought it was made with lamb and I don't like lamb. Boy was I wrong. I put one of the pies in the freezer and pulled it out one night when I had no idea what to make for dinner. It was a hit both times. Enjoy!
The Creative Cook