St. Paddy’s Day! It’s a holiday that I love because it’s green and fun and means that spring is almost here. It also seems it’s the one day a year there are more drunk people stumbling down the sidewalks than any other, but it does get quite amusing to watch them, lol.
I usually make corned beef on rye this time of year, partly because it’s the best time of year to get awesome brisket for cheap and it’s one of my husband’s favorites. I grew up eating corned beef and cabbage but still have yet to get close to mine tasting like my mom’s recipe (it was one of the few dishes that she can cook well! Sorry mom!). This year, I haven’t made corned beef yet, so you’ll have to wait until next year to get my wonderfully flavorful and easy corned beef recipe.
I’m not even sure where corned beef got named as a traditional Irish dish anyway because it really isn’t but Sheppard’s Pie on the other hand is a very traditional favorite of the Irish. And no wonder because it’s loaded with the yummy goodness of mashed potatoes, veggies and a good ground beef or lamb. I decided to give you the recipe for the “traditional” Sheppard’s Pie.
I said “traditional” because I did make some changes that I know are not traditional at all, like adding olive oil instead of butter and plenty of red wine. I also tossed in a frozen organic mix of carrots, green beans and corn, while the traditional veggies are carrots and peas. But I think this is one of those dishes where people probably threw in whatever they had on hand anyway because it’s just that type of dish, most veggies would be good in it. It could even be switched up by adding a parsnip and turnip mix or mashed cauliflower on top instead of mashed potatoes (hummm, I think I know what I’m trying next).
Anyway, since I was sticking to mostly traditional, one thing I didn’t skimp on was adding beautiful red skinned mashed potatoes to the top that I had lightened up by adding mostly homemade veggie stock to in place of most the butter. The fun thing about Sheppard’s pie is that it’s a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes of any kind, so add-on your favorite mix.
One suggestion my husband had, was that I leave a little more liquid in the sauce next time I make it. It still had plenty of juices but he wanted more “gravy” to mix into his mashed potatoes. The thickness is really up to you. Simmer it longer, less liquid or simmer it less and have more!
If you haven’t had Sheppard’s Pie, then give it a try. It’s an awesome mixture of veggies, meat and potatoes that all come together for nice balance of flavor that we just love. I shared the love by making these into 6″ ramekins and giving some to my neighbors.
1 lb. ground beef or lamb
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cups of frozen mixed veggies (I used green beans, carrots and corn)
1 medium sweet onion
3/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. dried thyme or 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup veggie stock
6 Tbsp. tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar (cuts acidity of tomato sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
5 to 6 cups of mashed potatoes
1 egg, beaten
1.3 cup Romano cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Fill a large pot with water and place on burner to come to a boil for blanching veggies. Blanch veggies for 3 minutes in boiling water and drain in colander. Pace in a bowl and set aside.
Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Put into a colander to drain and rinse out fat with warm water.
Place skillet back on burner and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and sweat until soft before adding meat back in. Season with pepper and thyme then add flour and mix well.
Add the tomato sauce, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer until liquids are reduced slightly then add the veggie stock. Simmer and reduce until desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Grease oven proof dish of your choice, 9 x 13 pan or I used 6 6″ ramekins. Spoon in the meat mixture and then spoon or pipe mashed potatoes over the top. Brush the potatoes with the egg and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
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