Monday 22 January 2007

Shepherd's Pie with Beer

I've made Shepherd's Pie a few times before, and I couldn't help noticing that my recipe was slightly similar to the Spag Bol recipe, except for the lack of Pancetta and Red Wine. So as an experiment, I decided to start this recipe using a similar Soffritto to the Spag Bog, add the minced beef, then instead of wine, two thirds of a can of beer (Kronenbourg 1664 in this case). A nice darker beer might have worked a bit better, although the beer definitely improved the flavour. Also, I cooked the meat portion much longer than I have in the past, about 1.5 - 2 hours.

OK, perhaps this should be called a Cottage Pie as it is made with Beef rather than Lamb, but as far as I'm concerned, they're such similar recipes that I think it really doesn't matter than much.

Recipe (serves 4-5)
  • 500g Minced Beef
  • 2 medium Onions, chopped
  • 2 ribs of Celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, cubed
  • 1 cup Fresh Peas
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 300-400ml Beef or Lager
  • 1 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Thyme
  • 2 Beef Stock Cubes
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For the Mash
  • 1.5 kilo Vivaldi Potatoes
  • Splash of Milk
  • Knob of Butter
  • Small handful grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Grated Italian Hard Cheese
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Like the Spag Bog, saute the onion, celery and carrot in a heavy pan until the onion becomes transparent, then add the mince, cooking until lightly browned. Then add the beer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half before adding the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Leave this simmering for about 1.5 - 2 hours so that a lot of the liquid has evaporated (although not all), then add the peas and start to boil the potatoes to make the mash.

Transfer the meat to a casserole dish large enough to fit the meat leaving about an inch or so on top for the mash potato.

I put some of the cheddar in with the mash while mixing it up, then a little more on top with the black pepper and grated hard cheese. The whole lot then goes into a preheated 180 degree Celsius oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top has turned golden and slightly crispy.

Update: I have to say, my more recent Guinness Shepherd's Pie recipe is definitely more superior to this one, but this is still not a bad variation.

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