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IRISH SHEPHERD’S PIE

March 7, 2012 11:15 pm 0 comments

Irish Shepherd’s pie is an excellent dish said to have originated in England but adopted by Irish people many years ago. It is a one pot delicious, nutritious pie made combined with a medley of colorful veggies and minced meat topped with a crust of mashed potato and cheddar cheese.

 

 

Shepherd’s pie also known as cottage pie is a British meat pie with a mashed potato top. Traditionally made with leftover roast meat, but today it is often made with fresh minced or ground meat, most commonly beef (beef pie) or lamb. Irish shepherd’s pie is one of the most comforting foods at its finest especially when it has a little Irish flavor thrown in. This extraordinarily delicious and scrumptious dish is a one huge pot meal, handy to have a large selection, adds different flavors and is chocking full of nutrition, high fiber and good tasting as well as economical. It is a great family recipe.

Irish shepherd’s pie and cottage pie is really the same thing with one difference. The English prefer to make this with minced or ground beef whereas the Irish like it with minced lamb. The English call theirs ‘cottage pie’ and the Irish call theirs ‘shepherd’s pie’. There are many types of cottage pies and just as many cottage pie recipes. The good thing about baking pies is that you can replace the seasonings often and the end result would be just as excellent with unique taste and flavors. The good thing is that most recipes for the cottage pie differ only in the seasoning; and therefore, you will still be able to make a pie that can stand the critics.

Shepherd’s pie is a rustic dish and provides greater authenticity and far satisfying eating experience. It is also one of the quickest and easiest supper dishes that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Shepherd’s pie is a staple of Irish traditional cooking thanks to the trusty potato, which was adopted by Ireland as a food crop in 1780. Shepherd’s pie is an economical way to use up food in your pantry or freezer while simultaneously providing a tasty and nutritious meal for your family, on St. Patrick’s Day, or any day.

Potatoes form the basis for many traditional Irish dishes and were introduced into Ireland in the second half of the 16th century, initially as a garden crop. It eventually came to be the main food crop of the poor. As a food source, the potato is extremely valuable in terms of the amount of energy produced per unit area of crop. The potato is also a good source of many vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C when fresh. Potatoes were widely cultivated, but in particular by those at a subsistence level; the diet of this group of this period consisted mainly of potatoes supplemented with buttermilk.

The only two things that are mandatory to make a real ‘shepherd’s pie’ are potatoes and lamb. While ground beef version is also very delicious but is not considered a shepherd’s pie, since shepherds raise sheep and not cows J . If you are not a meat lover then you can also prepare a delicious Chicken pot pie, Egg and potato pie and vegetarian’s can have the pleasure in preparing an remarkably scrumptious Vegetarian Shepherd’s pie. A rich and creamy vegetarian shepherd’s pie using lots of healthy vegetables instead of meat is also a nutritious, healthy and delightful dish.

For preparing the Irish Shepherd’s pie, firstly in a frying pan, add 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp olive oil and when it gets slightly hot add 1 diced onion and sauté until soft. Add 2 pounds lean ground lamb and fry well. During this process, you’ll find a good amount of moisture released from the minced meat. Fry well till all the moisture is dried and the meat get slightly browned.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour and fry well. Add salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon ketchup and mix well Add 2 ½ cups water or broth (use more or less to adjust thickness as needed). Add 12 oz bag frozen peas and carrots (thawed and drained well).Cover and cook simmering for 20 minutes until the veggies and meat is cooked. Once the meat is cooked, skim off the excess fat, then boil rapidly to reduce the liquid until it just covers the mince and onions.

Meanwhile peel, chop and boil 2 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes for 20 minutes until cooked. Drain the potatoes very well until completely dry. Mash potatoes until smooth and free of any lumps. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the mashed potato, pinch of cayenne, ¼ cup cream cheese, and ¼ pound Irish cheddar, salt and pepper to taste and adjust the seasoning. Add 1 egg yolk beaten in a bowl with 2 tablespoons milk and whisk thoroughly. Mix this to the potato mash and mix well to a smooth and soft paste.

Put mince mixture in a shallow oven proof dish. Spread the mash on top of the meat and brush the tops of the potatoes with melted butter. If desired, sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the mash. Spike the top with a fork – that is, rough up the surface of the mash with a fork. Cook in a hot oven for about 30-50 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Tip: Adding the butter and milk to the potatoes before they are properly mashed is the best way to make lumpy mash. Roughing up the surface of the mash makes the top crispier, by increasing the surface area and providing thin sections which dry out and crisp faster; compare roast potatoes.

If you constantly bake cottage pies for your family, then you can start experimenting with this excellent variation namely Irish Shepherd’s pie. Just remember that cooking is a very personal business and therefore what pleased others might not please you as much. Irish Shepherd’s pie is an amazing homemade and family dish. Enjoy cooking!

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