Country Irish Shepherds Pie
We considered a lovely dinner at Temecula's only Irish dining establishment "Killarney's Irish Pub & Grill", but when I drove to the grocery store at 4:oo pm and noticed parked cars lined up for literally miles away and the sounds of Irish folk music and loud cheers from happy consumers, I knew dinner would be served at home this evening. But that was o.k., for all my
shopping needs would be taken care of at Henry's, where there was also a celebration with music, clogging and fresh cheeses and popular Irish drinks and foods. The store decorated with heather and green clover, and management with their plaited kilts was just the right place for me to go to get into an Irish cooking mood. And that's hard to do for a full blooded Italian gal! But rummaging through the deli cases I found cheeses with Irish labels, and the store attendant practically placing in my hand the Kellygold brand of Dubliner cheese that I ended up taking home with me. It was wonderful!
I made a simple Shepherds Pie with a few alterations. One, I didn't have time to make a pie crust so I purchased shepherds bread and used that as a base. The second, I layered the Dubliner cheese between the meat, vegies and mashed potatoes.
I made a beef stock gravy with thyme as the herb ingredient and mixed that with the ground beef and also drizzled it between the layers. The cheese made all the difference in the world! Also, to prevent the bread from burning and drying out I wrapped it in foil as I baked it through.
This was a fun and delicious meal!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
COUNTRY IRISH SHEPHERDS PIE
2 medium sized Shepherd Bread loaves
6 cups Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)
2 cups Brown Sauce (recipe follows)
1-½ lbs. Ground Lamb or beef
Salt and pepper
3 cups Dubliner cheese grated (I use Kerrygold)
3 Carrots cleaned and cut into small squares and cooked till tender.
1 cup Peas (frozen not canned) cooked
2-3 pounds russet (baking)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 to 1 cup milk
Salt and white pepper to taste
Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. In a large heavy saucepan simmer potatoes in salted water to cover by 1 inch 10 minutes, or until tender, and drain in a colander. In pan or bowl combine potatoes, butter, and 3/4-cup milk. With a potato masher or blender mash potatoes until just smooth, adding more milk and butter if necessary to make a
creamy but not pasty potato. *Over cooking and blending your potatoes will make them too starchy. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3 shallots or scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
10-½ -ounce can beef broth (not consommé)
1 Tb. Wortsheshire sauce
1 Tsp. Fresh Tarragon leaves finely chopped
½ Tsp. thyme
1 Tsp. Beurre Manié
Sauté chopped shallots or scallions in butter. Gradually add wortsheshire and beef broth. Let it come to a boil and add the seasonings. Cook down for a few minutes. Add Beurre manié to thicken to taste. Let simmer for a few minutes and strain. Set aside.
Ground Lamb or Beef
Finely chop ½ an onion. Sauté in 2 Tbsp. butter. Add ground meat and cook. Drain liquids. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Mix prepared vegetables together.
Divide all ingredients for two shepherd pies.
Cut top of Shepherds Bread and scoop out insides.
Starting with mashed potatoes layer your ingredients, always adding cheese and sauce after each layer. Repeat process until you end with mashed potatoes on top. Potatoes can be piped on for a decorative finish but it is not necessary. Bake Shepherds Pie in a pre-heated 375° oven for
20 minutes. If potatoes start to brown too quickly loosely cover with foil.