Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shepherd's pie

Okay, to be honest, Friday was pretty fucking glorious. A seriously perfect autumn day: sunny, a balmy 65 degrees, just gorgeous. But when I got to the store after work I still ended up leaning toward comfort food, and picked up a half pound of ground lamb (and some beef, just for shits and gigs). Shepherd's pie was calling.

This also afforded me the opportunity to use up the celeriac languishing in the "root cellar" (bottom drawer of the fridge, where I keep my carrots and apples and such). I caught it in the nick of time: slightly stronger-than-desired celery flavor, but not yet totally lignified.


Shepherd's pie is dead simple to prepare. It's just a meaty, veggie mélange with gravy and a mashed root veg topping. The creativity comes when you decide which veg to use, and how you'll go about the gravy. My veg consisted of the classic (read:predictable) savory pie combo: peas, cremini mushrooms, Sweet Nantes carrots, onion, and sliced scarlet runners. I sautéed these in the fat from the lamb and beef mince until crisp-tender. The gravy was comprised of two tomatoes (simmered hot until melted into sauce) 2 tbsp veal demiglace and a half a pint of Guiness, thickened with a flour and chicken fat roux. I added some chopped rosemary and thyme for good measure, added the meat and veg mix to it, and into an oval soufflé.

I creamed together a large Yukon gold potato and a celeriac tuber (both peeled, cubed and boiled 'til tender) with a knob of good butter and some half and half. I opted to go cheese-free with the topping (my mother always topped the potatoes with grated cheese, though her Shepherd's pie was always just ground beef in tomato sauce without veg, likely a vestige from her days in the Marine Corps), but whipped in an egg so the topping would brown up better. In retrospect, added grated cheese and scallions to the potato-celeriac mix would've been a sexy take on traditional Irish champ that could've elevated it to a new zenith. Next time.

Served simply with some steamed and butter-browned Brussels sprouts and a glass of earthy Ponsalet Monastrell Jove, and you're getting hugs on your insides.

31 comments:

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

This is definitely my idea of comfort food! I love that you used celeriac in it. Very interesting.

We love Shepherd's Pie over here and I make it a lot. Sometimes, I just make the meat filling and stuff baked potatoes with it.

smörgåsbroad said...

oooooh comfort food

Manggy said...

Hugs on your insides-- hee! I love that. Though it's not really shepherd's pie weather here (when is it really in these parts?) I'd still love to have some by virtue of its apparent deliciousness :)
And YES! to grated cheese and scallions! :)

cookiecrumb said...

Lignified!
Again, why I love you.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

This is one of my favorite pies... I dunno why I've never thought to make it at home. That'll be getting fixed soon.

glamah16 said...

I love the use of celeric root. Very nice.

NurseJen said...

Mmmm... lightly drizzled with real HP sauce ahhhh....

Peter G said...

Mmmmm...this is comfort food at its best! Love the brussel sprouts side too!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Heh - snap! We had shepherd's pie on Saturday, too. Couldn't be *rsed to blog about it, though. I'm not so needy as you, see... ;-)

kittie said...

Beef and lamb? Does that make it a shepherd's cottage pie? ;)

On cottage pie I love to mash in cheddar and English mustard to the topping, but I never add cheese to lamb...

Foodycat said...

How gorgeous! I have a big slab of leftover roast beef and a celeriac that have been asking me to make cottage pie. It needs to be done! Especially with those gorgeous brussels sprouts on the side.

We Are Never Full said...

girlfriend, kitty is right - this is a cottage/shepherds pie. british husband is getting his knickers in a bunch over the blasphemy of adding beef mince! help!! shit, i gotta go, he's beating on things now...

Núria said...

Wow girl, you came all the way to Valencia to pick up your wine ;D

That shepherd's pie is a dish I would enjoy for sure. This week is supposed to be horrible (weather talking) and this kind of food always warms my heart♥

peter said...

I'm still hoping for some brussels sprouts, but they're not growing very fast. And we're getting hard frosts now; the cat was lignified this morning on the front porch when I opened the door to let him in.

Heather said...

Susan - I love that baked potato idea. Genius!

smörgåsbroad - (insert Homer Simpson gurgling sound here)

Mark - Isn't there anything grated cheese and scallions can't do?

Cookiecrumb - Sometimes that botany degree comes in handy after all, I guess. :P

Marc - This is too easy to leave to the professionals.

Courtney - It added that certain something, to say the least.

NurseJen - That sounds goood. I have some, too, shoulda thought of it.

Petah - Brussels sprouts are so wonderful! The hubz doesn't care for them too much, but I'm turning him around.

Sketti - I am needy. I must blog! I just must!

Kittie - Yes, I suppose it does. Does it still get categorized as cottage pie if there's only a tiny bit of supplemental beef?

Foodycat - Roast beef and celeriac sounds great. The Brussels sprouts are just for a bit of green. :)

Amy - Oh my gah, you purists! I know shepherd's pie is with lamb, and it's cottage pie with beef. You can soothe your raging Jonny by informing him that there was only a tiny bit of supplementary beef. Not even enough to make a meatball.

Núria - Yes, I did! It's a great wine to enjoy with mushrooms and lamb. Perfect!

Jube - The cat may need to spend some time in a pulp mill, poor thing.

Nikki said...

I don't think I've ever made shepherd's pie. Maybe I have. I don't know. It's not in my regular repertoire. But it should be. Especially with root veg mash.

You're so cool, making good food :)

Lo said...

A hug on the inside, indeed. I'll bet it was tasty -- veal demiglace and stout marrying nicely, I'm sure.

matt wright said...

Awesome! I didn't realise people ate Shepherds Pie over here. Just a classic winter dish back in Blighty. Really is awesome to see you cook it here!

This sounds like a serious contender for best SP ever! Guiness, demiglace and a chicken fat roux! Holy crap, that has got to be good

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

"Root cellar". Very clever.

That is no ordinary shepherd's pie. That is shepherd's pie elevated to a whole new level.

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

DAMN good looking and happens to be one of Hubby's comfort food of choice!! Thanks for helping me score some killer points!!

Jude said...

Had to look up "lignified". At least I didn't have to look up "f---- glorious" :) Looks great.

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

That looks like a great recipe. I have never made SP, but I bet hubby would love it! And I think I'd do it the same way you made it - it looks like the perfect version.

And that fork, btw, is really cool. Vintage?

cook eat FRET said...

i have never made one of those. it's funny i never really even eat potatoes. and i like them i just never think to buy them. but if you made me that i would totally eat it. and probably lick the plate when you turned around.

Candy said...

Yum! Perfect for these cooling off days.

Brittany said...

I could use a big ass plate of this right now, as I've had a fucked up day. I need food that hugs me.
Serioulsly. It's calling my name.

Celeriac is my favorite cold weather veg. EVER.

Zen Chef said...

mmmmm...I just want to get naked and roll around that plate of food. Sheperd's pie is hugs on your inside and outside.

K, i'm a freak.

MrOrph said...

The ultimate comfort food! I make this often, usually after I have leftover mashed potatoes.

Technically:

Beef = Cottage pie
Lamb = Shepherd's pie

maybelle's mom said...

we adore shepherd's pie in the cold weather. and this looks delicous. But, I think it is partifularly cool that your mother was a marine.

Heather said...

Nikki - No, you are!

Lo - The best is the leftovers. So good.

Matt - From you, that's the highest compliment! There's nothing veal demi can't improve, though. :)

Rachel - I should excavate a pit in my basement floor and make a real one.

Cathy - It's one of mine, too. :)

Jude - Sorry, I nerd out on botanical terminology a bit on my blog.

Traci - Good eye! I actually scored that cool fork at Goodwill, for the express purpose of dressing up my photos. :)

Claudia - If you're watching your carbs you could use mashed cauliflower or a low-GI carb like turnip, yeah?

Candy - It's really the best part of autumn.

Brittany - You poor thing! I should ship some up to you for your poor lil' neck.

M. Zen - Whoa, you really know how to party.

Don - I know, but what do you call it when you use a little of each?

Maybelle's Mom - She was a Corporal, at that. No wonder I'm such a hard-ass.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Aaaaaaaah!!!!

Middle-school cafeteria food flashback!

Aaaaaaaah!!!

Sorry. Had to.

Autumn said...

O. M. G.