For March's Charcutepalooza challenge, I am fusing the advice of Alton Brown and Michael Ruhlman to corn my own brisket. The corned beef will be the main course for our dinner club's celebration of Irish food on Saturday night. So, I had to come up with something else to make to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with my family. My kids are big pot-pie fans so I decided to put together my first Shepherd's Pie. I started with this healthy mega-veg version by Ellie Krieger, but added a little pork fat as well as an extra punch of flavor from garlic, more herbs and tomato paste.
- 1 ½ pound ground beef
- 3 strips bacon, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 1/2 pound white mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2/3 cup low-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup low-fat sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large nonstick skillet, brown the meat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl.
- Add the bacon to the pan and cook until it is almost crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and add to the beef using a slotted spoon.
- To the remaining fat, add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook, covered, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately-high. Add the mushrooms, thyme and rosemary and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and their liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes longer.
- Return the meat to the pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and stir in the peas.
- Pour the mixture into a large shallow baking pan.
- Place the potatoes in a steamer basket, and steam for 10 minutes. Add the florets to the basket and cook until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes longer.
- Heat the milk, butter, remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste in a medium saucepan.
- Add the potatoes and cauliflower to the saucepan and cream with a hand mixer. Blend in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread the potato mixture on top of the meat mixture and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.
All the boys had to be reminded to put their forks down between bites.