AKA Shepards Foot or Cottage Pie – the Best Classic Shepherds Foot. Ground beef (or lamb) in a rich gravy, covered in cheesy, mashed potatoes, and baked vegetables. Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie called for ground lamb. Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie differ from each other. Cottage Pie uses ground beef, and Shepherd’s Pie uses ground lamb.
For the Mashed Potatoes:
3 1/2 lbs (1.6kg) of russet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, cubed
For the Meat Sauce:
1 1/2 cups (360ml) of homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
2 packets of unflavored gelatin (about 5 teaspoons; 1/2 ounce; 14g)
2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
2 1/2 lbs (1kg) of ground beef or lamb, or some combination (see note)
1 large yellow onion (about 14 ounces; 400g), diced
3 medium carrots (about 8 ounces; 225g), diced
2 (about 4 oz; 110g) of ribs celery, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30ml) tomato paste
1 cup (240ml) dry red wine
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp (15ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5ml) Marmite (optional)
2 tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
8 ounces (225g) frozen peas
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy cream
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for topping (optional)
For the Mashed Potato:
1. In a colander, place cubed potatoes and rinse them under cold water until the water is clear. In a big bowl, transfer the potatoes and cover with cold water of at least 2 inches. Season the water with salt almost as salty as the sea. Bring the water to a boil at high heat, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until it is easily pierced, at about 10-150 minutes, by a knife without resistance. Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse for 30 seconds with hot running water. In a big bowl, transfer the potatoes.
2. Mash potatoes with butter using a potato masher, food mill or ricer. Press the surface smoothly, then press the plastic wrap directly on the surface so that the skin does not form. Set aside until ready to put it together.
For the Meat Sauce:
1. Put stock in a 2-cups liquid measuring cup, sprinkle with gelatin, and set aside.
2. Heat oil to shimmering in a large oven in the Netherlands. Fill the ground meat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes; add the potato masher or big whisk to break meat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot until browned well. Stir in the meat and cook until reduced to smaller bits for 3 minutes, breaking up with the mash or whisk; reduce heat if needed to prevent scorching. If meats have lots of excess fats, use a metal spoon to scoop it leaving just a few tablespoons in the pot. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook and scrape the bottom of the pot for about 4 minutes.
3. Mix tomato paste and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Fill in red wine and heat up to cook. Cook, scrap all brown bits until they have evaporated almost fully. Add stock of chicken, thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire, and Marmite, if used. In the pot, sprinkle the flour and mix it. Cook, then reduce heat to low, and cook until soft, about 20 minutes thick. Leave out thyme and bay leaves. To taste, add the peas, salt, and pepper.
To Assemble and bake:
1. Adjust the rack of the oven to center and preheat oven at about 218 ° C (425 ° F). Heat cream in a large casserole until it is cooled before assembly. Add and gently mix the potatoes until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. On the rimmed baking sheet, place a 9×13 inch baking sheet. Add meat sauce and don’t fill it over halfway. Sprinkle with mashed potatoes on top, spread them out with a spatula to cover completely the surface, depending on the size of your baking dish. Create a dented pattern over potatoes with the use of spatula. When used, sprinkle with parmesan grated cheese.
3. Transfer to the oven, bake and brown the top and heat the casserole over 20 minutes. For deeper browning, place the saucepan on a rack for the last few moments of the cooking for about 6 inches under a hot broiler. (Close monitoring to prevent burning of potatoes.)
4. Let it rest before serving for 15-20 minutes. The casserole can be assembled, use plastic to wrapped it, and cooled for up to 2 days. In the oven, reheat it at about 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Then transfer to the broiler to brown.
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