I love to walk down to our local pub, Bon Lair, and have a pint of cider. When you walk in you start hearing that song from Cheer's in your head "Everybody knows you name, duh duh duh..." I am absolutely sure that no one there knows my name, but it gives you that feeling. Everything is decorated in a very European style with the old dark wood, colorful football jerseys, and traditional bar towels. Above the bar the regulars have their specific beer mugs hanging that they have earned from years of dedicated patronage. The cash register has to be wound up before the old thing can be opened. I love it. This is at 37th and J by the way if anyone wants to visit.
Occasionally I order food there, and specifically Shepherd's pie. Now, I am not a trained food critic, but when your food arrives I have great, hungry expectations. When I take my first bite, I think, oooh, needs something, and I add salt. Then taste again and think, still not quite right, and add pepper. After that I except it for what it is, and eat. After enough of this, and ordering Shepherd's pie at a few different pubs, I decided to take a stab at it myself. I think you'll like it!
Shepherd's pie is traditionally made with mutton, or lamb, and a mashed potato crust. I usually use ground beef because I usually have it in my fridge and it works just fine. The nice thing is that this dish is easy to alter and add in whatever veggies you have left to use, mushrooms for example are a nice substitute for the other veggies. Just resist the temptation to add in too many things. The recipe is easy to make, and healthy!
3-4 Russet potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (use Kosher if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow or white onion
1 1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
1 16 oz can of beef broth of 1 cube Beef bouillon dissolved in 2 cups of water
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 Cup chopped carrots
1/2 Cup peas
1/2 Cup corn
1/2 teaspoon Salt (use Kosher if you have it)
3/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoons worcestershire Sauce (this is kind of the magic ingredient here)
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the potatoes thoroughly, cut them in quarters put them in a saucepan. Add water until the potatoes are submerged and bring it to a boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender enough to easily pierce with a fork.
2) While the potatoes are cooking, chop the onions coarsely. Put 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. On medium heat brown the onions and the beef simultaneously . As they are cooking break up the beef so it is a bit chunky.
3) Chop carrots and add to the pan. **Good opportunity to use those carrots from the garden** If you are using frozen carrots, wait until later to add them.
4) When the potatoes are cooked mash them in the sauce pan. Be careful to use something that won't scratch your pan. Add the milk a splash at a time and continue mixing. You want the mashed potatoes to be firm enough to hold their shape, but still spreadable. Add 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
5) In the beef pan, move everything to the edges to make a crater in the middle. Pour in beef broth. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon of flour and mix well. This will thicken the broth so it more like a gravy.
6) Stir in 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoons worcestershire sauce into beef.
7) Add peas, and corn to the beef mixture. I usually use frozen vegetables for these so they only need to cook for two or three minutes.