With not so much free time on my hands these days, I’m on the search for the perfect one-pot meal. I make our recipe for Kubeh Bake at least once a month, I tried this one last week and it was delicious and I scour the internet on a regular basis so that I can get a main course and a side dish in the least amount of time, with the least amount of dirty dishes (less to clean).
When brainstorming with Danya about the recipes we would post this month, I offered to try a Mexican inspired dish similar to our Kubeh Bake. But with Mexican food not being very popular in Israel (a mystery, and worth a post in itself), she vetoed the idea quickly, but offered a suggestion. “Why don’t you do a Shepherd’s Pie instead?” Sounded like a great idea, if it wasn’t for one thing: I’m American, and Americans, or at least the ones I know, like their pies sweet. I had never made Shepherd’s Pie before, and had only tasted it a few times.
But being that it’s a one-pot meal, my goal was to search the web for the best classic recipe. So I did what any American would do, I looked to none other than the British food god himself- yes, Jamie (Oliver).
I thought about doing all sorts of interesting twists, like adding fresh garlic to the mashed potatoes, or some interesting spice to the meat mixture, but Shepherd’s Pie is one of those classics that was meant to be classic. At least to the British. So with a few minor changes, this one-pot meal officially made it into this Americans’ weekly routine.
Some tips before getting started:
– I like to make this dish in a heavy cast-iron skillet, but you can cook the beef in a skillet and then transfer it to a baking dish.
-You can make this dish with ground lamb, or a mix of beef and lamb together, for added flavor.
-For the kosher or lactose intolerant- the milk and butter are not a must and can be left out of the mashed potatoes.
-Place the mashed potatoes onto the beef with patience so that you don’t end up with one mixed layer of the two but two layers, one beef topped with mashed potatoes.
Classic Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe
Ingredients for 6 servings:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
500 grams/ 1 pound ground beef
1 can (400 grams/13.5 fl. oz.) chopped tomatoes
250 ml./8 oz. beef or vegetable stock or water
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
100 ml./3 oz. milk
1 tablespoon butter
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet and add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme leaves and cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and softened.
2. Add the ground beef and cook on high heat until just browned. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower heat.
3. Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF.
4. Partially cover the pan and cook on low heat for an hour, until most of the liquid has reduced.
5. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water until completely softened. strain the water, and add the milk and butter. Mash potatoes until smooth in texture.
6. Carefully spoon the mashed potatoes over the beef and top with the fresh thyme sprigs.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve warm.