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Shepard's Pie

Shepard's Pie has always sounded like a recipe that I should love, but the ones I've tried have always been wanting, and I've never really put in the effort to create an original.  So when I saw this one from Michael Chiarello I decided to give it one more try.  I made some changes to punch it up a bit as well as for convenience, and it turned out really good.  If you can't get the ground lamb you can substitute ground pork, but you'll be substituting convenience for authenticity.

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound ground lamb (see notes)
1 pound ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
½ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced (see notes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped parsley
1½ cups beef stock
1 cup red wine (see notes)
4 tablespoons AP flour divided
2 pounds russet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
˝ cup diced scallions
2 cups very sharp cheddar, shredded
S&P to taste  

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat a skillet over a medium-hot fire, add the oil and brown the beef and lamb.  Do this in stages so as not to cool down the pan.  Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Make a roux with the flour and 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir frequently as the roux comes together.

Add onion to the pan and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the carrots and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, tomato paste, thyme, parsley and cinnamon.  Sauté while stirring for an additional 2 minutes.  Add the wine and beef stock.  Add the roux and stir frequently while coming to a simmer which will allow the roux to thicken the sauce. Mix well adjusting for salt and pepper and allow to come to a simmer.  Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.  Return the beef and lamb to the pot and thoroughly combine with the viggies.

Peel then cut the potatoes into approximately 2" cubes, rinse well, place in a pot and fill with water to 1" above the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and let cook for about 10 minutes before testing.  The potatoes are ready when a fork easily pierces the potato but before they fall apart when pierced.  Drain well and dump into mixing bowl with the butter (cut into pieces.)  Mash them or whip them with a little cream or whole milk adjusting for salt and pepper.

With everything ready combine the burger and lamb and spoon the meat into a 9x13 inch baking dish and level off.  Then spread the potatoes evenly all over.  Sprinkle the scallions over the potatoes and then top it with the shredded cheese.  Bake the pie until the top is crusty and golden, about 25 minutes.

Notes:

  1. f you can't get the ground lamb you can substitute ground pork, but you'll be substituting convenience for authenticity.
  2. Substitute button mushrooms for the Cremini's if not available.
  3. Doesn't need to expensive, just drinkable.  Add don't use a sweet red.
 

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