Well you couldn’t go wrong with this week’s recipe! Mashed potatoes, cheese, and meat – really the most easy to please combination if there was one. I was very excited to try Dorie’s recipe since I have made English Shepard’s Pie many times and was interested to see how the flavor differed from my old standby recipe.
Dorie has broken this recipe into three parts: Beef and Bouillon, Sausage Filling, and Potato Topping.
Let’s get started with the Beef and Bouillon first.
I gathered my cube steak, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, water and beef bouillon powder.
I put the water, seasonings, herbs in the pot over medium heat. I sliced the vegetables into smaller chunks and added them to the pot. Lastly, I cut the cubed beef into smaller pieces, turned the water up to a boil and skimmed the grayish scum from the pot as it rose to the top. (Not the most appetizing part, but ya’ know, you just gotta do it)
I let this simmer on the stove for an hour and a half. Meanwhile, I started the mashed potatoes for the top layer of our pie.
These were honest -to -goodness mashed potatoes made with russet spuds, unsalted butter, Comte and Parmesan cheeses, heavy cream, whole milk and salt and pepper to taste.
Most importantly of all, I got to use a very special kitchen gadget that was given to me by my grandma. She gave it to me as a wedding gift, passing it along since she received it as a gift 60 years ago at her wedding! There have been many many Christmases and Thanksgivings when riced potatoes were served on the table and there were never any leftovers. Now the potato ricer has a place of honor in my kitchen, where it will certainly have many more years of use.
I peeled and diced the potatoes and got them into a pot of boiling water. I warmed the dairy and cut the butter into small pieces. When the potatoes were fork tender I drained them and quickly riced them into a bowl.
I grated the Comte and the Parmesan to sprinkle on top of the potatoes after it was layered in a dish. I stored this in the fridge until assembly time.
I added the warm cream and milk and carefully stirred them into the fluffy mound of starchy goodness.
Two down and one to go! I got started on the sausage mixture:
The sausage mixture used sausage, tomato paste, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
By now the broth had reduced down almost completely (yikes) and I thought I better get it off the heat and strained before I ended up with too little bullion for the recipe! Whew, just enough! I removed the boiled beef and the carrots from the strainer and added them to the skillet with the cooked sausage.
I used two links of the Italian sweet pork sausage, removed it from its casing and cut it into small pieces. I drizzled a little olive oil in a large skillet and browned the pork. I added the tomato paste and a little salt and pepper and removed the skillet from the heat to wait for the beef and broth.
I was now ready to assemble everything in the casserole dish. The sausage layer, the mashed potatoes the cheese sprinkle, and a few bits of butter on top. It’s ready for the oven.
After 30 minutes the cheese was nicely toasted and the mashed potatoes were crispy 0n top. I used the time to wash some dishes. I think this must have been the most dishes I have ever used for one recipe! It looked like a bomb when off in my kitchen, but nevermind, it was worth it!
Out of the oven it comes, it was time to eat!
We really liked this, the sausage gave the filling a wonder flavor and the cheese toasted on top was savory and delicious. We refrigerated the leftovers and enjoyed it for dinner two nights in a row. I think that this shepard’s pie has become my new go-to recipe. Amazing!
This recipe and blog post is part of the French Fridays with Dorie group who are baking their way through “around my french table” by Dorie Greenspan. If you are interested joining the group please get your self a copy of the book and register!