Recipe Remix: Not your mother’s shepherd’s pie
A new blog and a new food blog event are born at Recipe Remix, where Robin and Danielle decided to start a new cooking challenge:
Give food bloggers the option of making any choice from set list of dishes – all of which could be considered “mundane” or “everyday” – and ask them to show us a twist, maybe some flair, or just their own creative interpretation to the dish.
The first installment of this new event (which I happened to stumble upon at the IMBB website) lists Shepherd’s Pie, Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, Baked Ziti, Franks & Beans, Tacos and Meatloaf. I chose
Shepherd’s Pie (with a twist or two)
First of all, I wanted to make this low-carb and what I had in mind was substituting not only the well-known fauxtatoes for potato, but also use some parsnips in the topping. But (of course) I couldn’t find decent parsnips on the market yesterday and instead opted for celeriac (celery root).
Then, I added in a few seasonings you probably wouldn’t expect in a shepherd’s pie, either…
I grew up wih the idea that Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb or mutton – after all that’s why it is named after a shepherd, isn’t it? A pie using beef, on the other hand, would be a cottage pie. Obviously, in the US this distinction has long been lost and in Oz and NZ meat pies of both (and mixed) kinds are referred to as any of those: cottage, shepherd’s, meat pie…
My local oriental butcher sells “regular” mince which is 50% lamb, 50% beef – this was where I started…
- 2 lbs / 1 kg of ground beef or lamb or a blend of both (wich is what I used)
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- chopped chili and grated ginger, about 2 tsp each (I used 1 tablespoon of a homemade ginger chili sambal I made for Hainanese Chicken Rice recently)
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- olive oil
- a piece of cheese to grate
In a large skillet warm the olive oil, sauté chopped garlic and onion until soft and starting to brown, add ginger & chili (or sambal), stir for a minute, then add the ground beef / lamb mince and brown slowly. Stir in the cream cheese, season with salt.
I used a rectangular glass casserole dish and grated a very thin layer of Emmental (Swiss) cheese onto the bottom, then added the meat in a single layer. Again, top with a little cheese.
While the onions are sautéeing slowly, you can prep for the mash layer.
- 1/2 bulb of celeriac (300-350 grams, peeled and cut up)
- 1/2 head of cauliflower (approx.)
- veggie or chicken broth, enough to steam/boil the veggies
- 150 g creme fraiche (sour cream)
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese, optional
- 1 egg
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 100 to 150 g cheese, preferably Emmental cheese, grated or grate freshly
- a little butter
Cut the cauliflower into pieces/florets (with stalk), peel and cut the celery root into fingers (like French fries), add both to a medium pan, add the stock and bring to a boil, let steam or simmer until soft, but not mushy.
Now it’s blending time, you may need a heavy-duty blender or food processor. Strain the vegetables and let them cool a little. Pop into the blender with the sour cream and cream cheese and blend until smooth (a few tiny chunks are just fine). Season liberally with nutmeg and some salt. When the puree is cool enough to touch it with a finger, blend in the egg, and smooth the mash on top of the thin cheese layer in your casserol dish. Top with grated cheese, and add a few dabs of butter distributed evenly over the mash.
Put in the middle of a hot oven (200 °C) and bake until it has a golden brown crust on top.
This has a very soft texture, if you want more adhesion in the mash layer, add grated cheese to the layer and an extra egg.