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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Shepherd's Pie

Okay, I suppose that TECHNICALLY what I made (and what I hereby present to you) is what a Brit would call a COTTAGE pie - since I didn't use lamb, but rather beef and bison (yes, bison). And, having made a bunch of stock earlier in the day, I was totally out of onions (and scallions). So there was THAT to overcome, too.

Still and all, I was happy with the result. You want to see? Okay. Here you go.

Ready? Go!

Shepherd's (Cottage) Pie

1# Ground Beef (no leaner than 90/10)
1# Ground Bison
10 tbsp. butter (4 tbsp. twice and 2 tbsp. once)
6-8 oz Vegetables (more if fewer veggies used; less if more variety)
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. beef base (2 boullion cubes, if no base available)
2 tbsp. onion powder
4 oz Manchego cheese, shredded
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz edam cheese, shredded
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (or more; to taste)
3 large potatoes; or 6-7 small
heavy cream (to taste)
to taste S & P

Heat your oven to 400.
Peel the potatoes (optional - ALWAYS optional to peel potatoes, in my opinion. I rarely peel potatoes; however, you need to make sure they're washed if you don't peel) and quarter (why do we say quarter? It's more than four pieces; it's actually 8, or maybe even 12 if it's a large potato. But I guess you can't say 'eighth' or 'twelfth' your potato). Place in pot and cover with about 1" of water, add salt, and bring to boil. Cook for about 20 minutes until cooked through.

While the potatoes ccok, melt four tbsp. of butter in your fry or saute pan - should be at least 10", and should be cast iron, but hey, use what you have! Add onion powder to butter, then add your veggies as appropriate.

As appropriate? Yes - carrots take a long time to cook, whereas peas and corn take very little time. So start with what needs the longest cooking time and work from there. Peas and corn should be added LAST (even after the meat).

Mix the beef base with your chicken stock. (WHAT? Yes, chicken and beef - richer, deeper flavor than either on their own. This is ESPECIALLY important if you have boullion cubes instead of base.) Add the Worcestershire sauce as well.

Once your veggies are cooked through, add your beef and bison. Bison is a very lean meat, so you need to balance that with the beef. Add your stock and continue to cook until the meat is JUST browned. NOW, add your peas and/or corn.

(I used carrots and peas in my version.)

Place your beef/veggie mix in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan.

Remember your potatoes? Once they're done, remove from the heat and drain off the water. Add the next portion of butter (4 tbsp.) and cream and mash. Add S & P to taste (but go LIGHT, as there is plenty of flavor in the filling).

Layer potatoes on the filling, Place the last portion of butter in SMALL, THIN portions on top of the potatoes, then put the pan in your oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and go and have a drink. Just a small one, though, as you have more work to do!

Did the timer just go off? Take the cheeses and sprinkle them over top of the potatoes, then put the whole thing back in the oven under the BROILER for about five minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and beat off the frantic assault from your hungry family. When you serve, you ought to hear this wonderful CRUNCH as you punch through the crust.

Time to eat!

As always, comments and feedback are welcome!

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