Friday, December 19, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

This week I was having a serious craving for Shepherd's Pie, but I didn't have time to make some. When I was home with Betty this week, I happened to be going through some magazines and found this Shepherd's Pie recipe in the April 2008 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. We had most of the ingredients in the pantry, and on the way to pick up Boo, we made a quick trip to a local farm for some fresh veggies. Here are the ingredients:

2 pounds small yellow-fleshed potatoes, halved (I was lazy and used instant.)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces cremini mushroom slices (none at the farm ... I used regular white button mushrooms instead)
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used a handful or two of baby carrots)
2 parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 pound 93-percent lean ground beef (I used Boca Burger vegetarian ground beef)
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth (I used vegetable broth)
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes (I used 1/2 c. of leftover marinara sauce)
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup 2-percent milk
1 1/2 pounds baby spinach (I used half a bag of frozen cut spinach)

1. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot; cover. (Because I was using the instant mashed potatoes, I skipped this step.)

2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Arrange in a greased 9-by- 13-inch baking dish in an even layer. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, parsnips and onion and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the beef and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour.

Add the beef broth and tomatoes and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Ladle the meat mixture over the mushrooms. Reserve the skillet.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°. Add the milk to the potatoes and mash. Season with salt and pepper. (This was where I improvised and made the instant mashed potatoes. And then I remembered that there was some leftover corn in the fridge from Taco Night, so I dumped the corn on top of the mixture too. If you haven't figured it out yet, this is an easily-adaptable dish. )

In the reserved skillet, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, turning, until wilted, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander; press to extract any liquid. (I microwaved our frozen spinach. Turned out great!)

Arrange the spinach over the meat mixture, then spoon the potatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

I thought this was delicious. It provided that comfort-food goodness that I was craving, but in a healthier version. Rachael Ray's version doesn't give the cholesterol counts, but if you follow her directions instead of my variations, a serving is 311 calories, there's 7g. of fat, and 2 g. of saturated fat. The Dean also liked this, but said he could do with fewer vegetables. (He suggested eliminating the parsnips. I think this might be because I told him they were included.)
The kids ... well, I wish I could say that my kids cleaned their plates. Boo ate approximately 1/3 of his portion. Predictably, Betty had a tantrum and refused to even look at this. Her rationale? There were "brown spots" on the mashed potatoes, there was sauce on the vegetables and she doesn't eat sauce ... I could go on. (Her food issues are getting a bit, well, challenging of late. That's a whole 'nuther post.)
I think that this could be made ahead of time and just put into the oven. If I make this again (which I am inclined to do), and if it is on a weeknight, I will likely try it that way. For a printable version of this recipe as it appeared in Every Day with Rachael Ray, go here on Rachael Ray's website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yum, that does look good. May have to try that one!