Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rosemary Shepherd's Pie

I was recently inspired with the delicious idea of making a shepherd's pie.  It's pie for dinner, after all.  What's not to like about that?  Having no family recipes to follow, I found one that looked sufficiently mouth-watering and set to work.  The recipe was for a single mini shepherd's pie, so I quadrupled it and made four.  They came out of the oven, bubbling and golden and beautiful.

They tasted horrible.  The carrots were underdone, the peas were mushy.  And since the recipe called for 2 T. tomato paste, my calculations brought it up to an entire can of tomato paste.  People.  Do not put a whole can of tomato paste into anything, unless you know what you are doing (which I certainly did not).  I hate wasting food, but a large percentage of that dinner might possibly have gone uneaten.

Anyway, last week I decided to try again (with a different recipe, of course).  I just couldn't admit defeat (or give up the idea of pie for dinner).  Let's just say the result was a million times better.  My husband described it as "the gourmet version of shepherd's pie."  Forget the tomato paste.  I'm going with rosemary and Parmesan from now on.

The original recipe called for 2 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes.  You can do that, of course, or use leftovers, but I decided to make up a mini batch of fresh potatoes.  I used 3 large red potatoes, 2 T. butter, about 2-3 T. heavy cream (milk or half-and-half are fine too), and a dash of salt and fresh-ground pepper.  Peel and dice potatoes; bring to a boil in a pot of water.  Simmer until tender.  Drain; mash together with butter, cream, salt, and pepper.

I was also going to list the rosemary as an optional ingredient, but I think it really makes the recipe, so now it's part of the title.  Kroger often has fresh rosemary on clearance for $1 (in the produce section), and it's worth grabbing since you can always freeze it for later (just rinse, dry, and strip off the leaves).  Otherwise, dried rosemary will also work.  You won't regret the splurge.

Rosemary Shepherd's Pie (based on this recipe)
Time:  1 hour
Serves:  6

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can cream of celery soup (cream of mushroom would work also)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (I used frozen peas and cooked fresh carrots)
1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1/4 cup water
1 T. minced fresh rosemary OR 1 tsp. crushed dried rosemary
1 tsp. garlic powder, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups mashed potatoes (see note above)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until cooked through; drain.  Stir in the soup, peas and carrots, mushrooms, water, rosemary, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, salt and pepper; heat through.  Transfer to a greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate (I used a 10-inch quiche dish).

In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, sour cream, and remaining 1/2 tsp. garlic powder until blended.  Spread over top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and potatoes and cheese are lightly browned.

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