Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Supper: Lamb and Mushroom Shepherd's Pie

It's been a long and eventful day and I very much wish that I was having this for my Sunday supper but the hubs and I have taken on the task of painting our living room so tonight we are throwing some baked potatoes and a london broil in the oven because it's easy and frankly, I'm tired. Not that london broil and baked potatoes are bad, I absolutely love them both. But it's not quite the same as a Lamb and Mushroom Shepherd's Pie and all the love that goes into it.

My parents often made Shepherd's Pie growing up. I think it was to use up leftover potatoes, or so I would guess. Their version always included ground beef and corn. It was good, but until I found this recipe, I had no idea how good Shepherd's Pie could be! Obviously this version isn't quite as economical as the version my parents made, but it's totally worth the extra coin. The lamb is so tender afte simmering in the liquid and I like to add extra mushrooms because I think every bite should be the perfect bite and here, the perfect bite consists of a piece of lamb, a mushroom, and a little mashed potatoes. So if you're looking to spice up and old classic, definitely give this dish a shot. I can guarantee that you'll discover a new favorite!

Lamb and Mushroom Shepherd's Pie

2lb shoulder blade lamb chops, trimmed of fat and bone, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1lb assorted mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 tbsp all purpose flour
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3 tbsp olive oil
3 large shallots, minced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 cups beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
about 1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1/3 cup whole milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and allspice. Add lamb and toss to coat evenly. In a large frying pan, over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add lamb and saute until well browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add shallots and garlic and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and bay leaf and saute until well browned, about 6 minutes.

Return lamb to frying pan, stir in stock and tomato paste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until juices thicken about 2 minutes. Transfer filling to a 9 inch pie or baking dish.

Meanwhile, make the mashed potato topping. Put potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Salt water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover partially and cook, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add milk, butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and season to taste with pepper. Mash well with a potato masher. Stir in half the chives. Spoon the potatoes on top of the lamb mixture to cover it completely.

Bake pie until it is heated through and potatoes just begin to brown on top, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve. Makes about 4 servings.

A couple modern housewife tips:
1. For the lamb, I told my butcher what I was making and they suggested I use lamb stew meat which was perfect because it was already cut into about 1 1/2 inch chunks so I basically just had to cut each chunk in half.
2. For mushrooms I usually choose 3 out of the following: oyster (I always use oyster because they are delish!!), shitake, portobello, cremini, or the typical white button mushrooms (the button mushrooms are a good option for this dish because they hold up well when being cooked for so long- they don't get mushy, like a softer mushroom could).

recipe adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Essential Recipe Collection for Today's Home Cook

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