Monday, June 10, 2013

And What Do You Call This Recipe?..................

Last week, a friend of my son, asked him if I had a good recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, a meat pie made with a crust of mashed potatoes. 

Typing out my recipe, I wondered where and how did this simple, delicious dish get its name. Surfing the internet for information, I found that early cook books, as far back as 1791 said that combining leftover roasted meat, usually beef, with spices in a pie dish, sandwiched in between mashed potatoes, was a way to feed the poor servants and peasants. This pie was called ‘Cottage Pie’, as the servants and peasants lived in modest dwellings.

Shepherd's Pie, a dish of meat [usually lamb] topped with mashed potatoes was probably invented sometime in the 18th century by frugal peasant housewives. It is generally agreed that it originated in the north of England and Scotland where there are large numbers of sheep-- hence the reference to shepherds, the theory being that shepherds are concerned with sheep and not cattle. The actual phrase ‘Shepherd's Pie’ dates back to the 1870s, when mincing machines made the shredding of meat easy and popular.

Today, regardless if you use ground meat, ground chicken or turkey or ground lamb, this recipe is usually called Shepherd’s Pie.This is my favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe. The recipe calls for white potatoes, but you can use sweet potatoes or a mixture of white and sweet. 
6 large potatoes cut up and boiled
1 and 1/2 kilos ground meat / turkey or chicken [you can use two different ground meats]
1 large onion diced
1 can of mushrooms or equal amount of fresh
1 1/2 cups of any frozen veggie that you beans, mixed veggies, peas and carrots.
1 large egg
1/2 -3/4 cup matza meal or bread crumbs.

Season to taste salt, pepper, garlic and turmeric optional.
-Boil the potatoes first, let cool, then mash and season with salt and put aside.
-Boil frozen veggies for 5 minutes and cool.
-Saute onion and mushrooms and drain the oil. 

-In a large bowl combine raw ground meat, cooked veggies, onion and mushrooms making sure everything is mashed together. Add egg, bread crumbs, and seasonings.

Using a lasagna size square pan or a round glass pie plate:
-Spread a thin layer of potatoes on the bottom of your pan or pie dish
-Spread over the potatoes the meat mixture
-Add remaining potatoes. Spread evenly.

Preheat oven to 350F or 180c and bake covered for 1 hour and uncovered for remaining 1/2 hour. 
Option 1: If you don’t want to use potatoes for the top, you can slice 2 eggplants in circles and brown them under the oven grill. You will need fewer potatoes. 
Option 2: Not sure if your guests like potatoes or eggplant? Make half the topping potato and the other half eggplant. 


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