Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

Everyone has their favorite comfort foods. For me, the ultimate comfort food is a Dick's cheeseburger. Still, shepherd's pie comes close.

Is this a beautiful dish? One worthy of being put into some gourmet coffee table book? No.

Is it satisfying and good to eat? Will it fill you up and remind you of a happy childhood? Absolutely.

It's really a very simple dish and open to wide variation. I suspect that what one likes and what one expects in Shepherd's Pie depends upon what one's mother made.

My mom made it with ground beef and few vegetables. So, that's how I made this batch. Although, I didn't add as much liquid to the meat as I normally would. And, I didn't completely drain the beef of its fat after browning. Both are things I normally do and both are things I regret not doing.

  • 1 kg ground beef
  • 1 very large carrot, diced
  • 4 small onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon beef broth crystals (I brought these from the states, they're like cubes, just crystals)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
As you can see, very, very simple ingredients for the meat. Honestly, you can put in whatever you like. Some people like sliced or chopped beef. Some add more veggies. It's really purely based on taste.

I put the ground beet, carrots, and onions all in a large frying pan and browned the beef. I scooped out about 80% of the fat. I then added the broth crystals and Worcestershire sauce.

This produced a nice beef mixture. It wasn't exceptional and was fairly dry. But, I was in a hurry at the time and didn't have the opportunity to really do much more.

I put the beef mixture into the bottom of some baking dishes (some were going to my test subjects for tasting). I pressed the meat mixture down a slightly. Then, I put a layer of the mashed potatoes on top.

The spiral pattern you see in the picture was just made with a spatula. Some folks like to make peaks with a fork. Again, 100% personal taste.

I put these in the oven at 400F (180C) for 40 minutes. I shut off the oven. I then took them out and grated some sharp cheddar cheese on top. I love this, so I put on a lot.

I tossed them back into the now-shut-off oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Oh, so good. And, done!

Test Results

Primary Test Group: "very good", "marasa" (Waray Waray for delicious). Eaten very quickly.

Test Group M: Fail. I believe they expected a different version of Shepherd's Pie. Wetter, chopped meat not ground, more veggies, etc. Too much cheese.

Test Group C: "delicious". Also eaten very quickly.


A good batch. Just needs more work. The potatoes weren't great and the meat mixture needed more work. I won't be accidentally freezing potatoes anymore. And, I'll definitely make more gravy with the meat next time.

I happen to prefer ground meat in this to chopped or sliced meat. So, I won't be giving into Test Group M's demands for that. Although, I've been informed that Test Group M plans to make a batch for me to try so that I can make it properly for them in the future.

Such gall! Hehe.

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