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Monday, March 4, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

Before you just blow me off and go back to all of your old memories of what Shepard's Pie used to be, hang on!  I promise you, this is one of the most SAVORY, delicious comfort foods ever!  
Besides the fact that this just melts in your mouth AND your house will smell like heaven all afternoon, I love this dish because you make it early in the afternoon (and enjoy the aroma all afternoon) and you have this delicious dinner without the stress of getting dinner ready along with homework, baths, sports, dance..., ....  

I promise you, your family will love you for this!

What you need:
2 lbs of sirloin, cut in bite size pieces
1 cup onion, chopped
3 to 4 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
1 cup frozen sweet peas
several sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper
2 1/2 lbs golden potatoes

Preheat oven to 275.

1.  Salt and pepper the meat.  Always, always season meat before cooking.  It just adds soooo much flavor!

2.  Brown the meat, in a very hot pot.  Of course the number 1 rule when browning meat is NOT to crowd the pan.  I was in a big hurry and tried to speed up the process a little bit, but it ended up taking longer and the meat did not get a good sear on it.  So, take it from me, DO NOT crowd the pan.  If you do not have a pot big enough, just brown the meat in two batches.

3.  Sear the carrots (then remove from pot)
and then the onions.  The goal is not to fully cook the carrots and onions, but just to get a good sear on them.
3.  Add 1 tbsp tomato paste to the onions and cook for one minute.
(I like to use tomato paste in the tube rather than buying a can of tomato past for just one tablespoon)
4.  Add wine and cook for 2 minutes until wine is almost evaporated, stirring constantly while scrapping all of those yummy, yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot.

5.  Add flour, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
6.  Gradually add in broth, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened (about 3 or 4 minutes).
 7.  Return meat, carrots and herbs to broth mixture.
 8.  Cover and bake for about 3 to 3/12 hours.
9.  Add peas, mix in and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
 10.  Make your mashed potatoes.  I have found that golden potatoes make the very best mashed potatoes.  You almost do not need to add anything.  But of course I do!  What would mashed potatoes be without 1/2 and 1/2 (or heavy cream, I just cannot bring myself to do it).

Butter.  of course I added more than pictured.  You can never add too much butter!
And cheese!
 11.  Remove pot from oven and and set oven to broil.  Cover the meat and vegetables with mashed potatoes.  Return to oven until top is golden brown.  I prefer my top to be a little more golden than this, but the kids were starving and it was just time to eat!
 And it was oh so delicious!!!
Enjoy!  It will warm your soul!

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