Monday, October 6, 2014
I had been wanting to make a shepherd's pie for quite some time, being the comfort food of the Irish, and Tim embracing that part of his heritage. But I'm just not the biggest fan of mashed potatoes, so I was looking for an alternative for the topping. I did a little recipe searching and I couldn't find one that really grabbed me, so I did what I do quite often: find one to use as a basic recipe and then change it to fit my needs.
I have the best luck with the Epicurious site so I knew that was the best place to start. And I found a classic shepherd's pie recipe that looked solid. There was an option of using a different ground meat other than the traditional lamb, but since we are huge lamb fans and I no longer eat beef, it seemed the right choice. I wanted something rich and flavorful and didn't think I would get as much bang for my flavor buck with ground turkey or chicken.
When it came down to it, I ended up following the recipe without many changes. I don't use vegetable oil, so I used whatever I had in my oil thingie (carafe? bottle? dispenser? No idea what to call that refillable glass thing with the spout...) and that was likely grapeseed oil or some nut oil. The recipe gives a choice of broths and I chose to use organic beef broth.
So then it came time to deal with the topping. As I mentioned, mashed potatoes do very little for me, so I decided to take the weight of the potatoes in the recipe and substitute a mix of root vegetables (including organic potatoes). I ended up combining the potatoes with carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips. The result was not only delicious, but it produced a topping with little flecks of color instead of fusing into one light-ish orange like I predicted. Lovely to look at! My boys were in heaven and I will definitely be making this again. Try your own combination of veggies for the topping and let me know how it turns out!
The recipe I based my shepherd's pie on can be found at: