Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

The best shepherd's pie starts with a lamb stew that has been simmering for a couple of hours, lightly flavored and fabulously fragrant with rosemary and a hint of garlic.  Capped with creamy mashed potatoes, the topping becomes golden brown in the oven.  

I substituted 2 pounds boneless beef chuck for the lamb.  You can also substitute fresh thyme for the rosemary.  For an extra-rich topping I made my mashed potatoes by adding 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, 6 cloves of roasted garlic and a TBSP or two of horseradish.  Be careful not to whip the potatoes too long because you want them to be light and airy with peaks.  This is another great cold weather dish.

2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
8 TBSP unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 TBSP all-purpose flour
3 - 1/3 cups beef stock
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
3 lbs baking potatoes
1/3 cup heavy cream, warmed
1 cup, fresh or thawed frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Trim the lamb of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  In batches to avoid crowding, add the lamb cubes and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch.  Transfer to a plate.

Add 4 TBSP of he butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with the flour, and stir well.  Gradually stir in the stock and wine and then the rosemary.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Return the lamb to the Dutch oven, place in the oven, and cook until the lamb is tender, about 1 - 1/2 hours.

About 30 minutes before the lamb is ready, oil six 2 cup ovenproof soup crocks or a 3 quart baking dish.  Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.  In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with salted water to cover, cover the pan, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Uncover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 - 25 minutes.  Drain well.  Return the potatoes to the pan and stir over medium-low heat for 2 minutes to evaporate the excess moisture.  Cut 3 TBSP of the butter into pieces and add to the potatoes.  Using a handheld mixer or potato masher, whip or mash the potatoes while adding enough cream to create a smooth mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

Season the lamb mixture with salt and pepper, stir in the peas, and pour into the prepared baking dish(es).  Spread the mashed potatoes evenly on top.  Cut the remaining 1 TBSP butter into bits and use to dot the top.  Bake until the top is lightly tinged with brown, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes, then serve hot.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious! You've added a few nice tweaks to boost the flavor.