Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shepard's Pie with Lamb and Rosemary

There is something so comforting about a warm plate of meat, potatoes and vegetables. And comfort was just what I needed when I whipped up this generous batch of Shepard's Pie.

I wouldn't argue that this is a traditional Shepard's Pie, mostly because I'm not exactly sure what that would be. I have zero Irish heritage in my bloodline, and I'm OK with that.

Not to hate on the Irish. I REALLY enjoy their soda bread, potato pancakes ("boxty"), whiskey, and coffee. I have lots and lots of Irish friends (I live in Boston after all!), and the movie P.S. I Love You makes me sob like a baby.

Alright, let's get down to business. I was inspired to make Shepard's Pie by my friend Ashley over at The Vegetable Life. This recipe is approachable, delicious, and fit to feed a crowd!

I love lamb and rosemary together, and I knew that was the direction I wanted to take this meal. Ground lamb is something I absolutely love. It's a great way to introduce yourself to lamb at home without worrying about overcooking a leg or burning a roast.

Start by sauteing a large onion in butter and olive oil. Add in the ground lamb until browned and crumbly (I can usually always find this at Whole Foods).

Plenty of veggies make this hearty and robust.

A bit of flour thickens together with vegetable broth into an irresistible gravy that is rich and flavorful.

Mashed potatoes are a must.

Finally, layer the meat mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Gently glide a fork on the top to create ridges in the top (just for fun!). Olive oil gets drizzled on top and the whole thing is baked until the top is crispy and the inside is hot and bubbly.

Nothing about this meal doesn't scream "comfort food." The lamb is tender and flavorful. The piney rosemary is rustic and homey. Soft vegetables and creamy gravy with fluffy mashed potatoes...it's a meal that will keep you coming back for seconds (and thirds, but I won't tell!)

Here's what you need for Shepard's Pie (Print Recipe!)

2 large russet potatoes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large vidalia onion, diced
1 1/4 pounds ground lamb (ground beef would also work very well!)
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 10.5 oz. can vegetable broth
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Wrap the potatoes in foil and bake at 400 degrees for one hour (or until fork-tender).

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes until translucent.

Add the lamb to the skillet and use a wooden spoon to crumble it. Cook 5 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in half the rosemary and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in the veggies and the all purpose flour, being sure all the vegetables and meat are coated evenly.

Reduce heat to medium low; add in the vegetable broth, garlic powder, and more salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and spread the meat mixture into the bottom of the pan.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and add to a medium bowl. Mash together with the milk,  2 tablespoons of butter, remaining rosemary, salt and pepper.

Spread the potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Use a fork to create ridges in the potatoes and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes are slightly browned and the gravy is bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Adapted from The Vegetable Life

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