A Dutiful Wife's Contribution
Shepherd's Pie came to mind, although the one that I made should really be called a Cottage Pie, on account of it containing minced beef instead of the traditional minced or cubed lamb meat.
- a couple of russet burbank potatoes (between 6 to 8 medium-sized potatoes) were boiled until they were soft, and then mashed with some butter (about 2 heaped tablespoons), fresh milk (about 3 tablespoons), salt and pepper to taste, and set aside
- for the meat filling, I sauted some chopped onions in oil before adding the minced beef (about 600g to 700g - depending on how big your casserole dish is) and stir-frying until the beef changes color. To this, I added some salt, pepper, a cup of chicken stock, a tablespoon of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and some dark soya sauce. The latter was included to add some color to the minced meat filling (a very Chinese thing, which I also subscribe to personally as I don't really like my meat too pale in color). Diced carrots are also added in for earthy color contrasts and sweetness.
- the meat filling is cooked and simmered in the broth for about 10 minutes so that the meat is moistened, and then 3 to 4 tablespoons of cornflour dissolved in a little water is stirred into the meat filling. The cornflour mixture helps to thicken the gravy and at the same time, coats the minced beef for a slightly smoother texture. I prefer my meat filling with thickened gravy coating the minced meat and diced carrots rather than with a diluted form of liquid gravy.
- filling is spooned into a casserole dish and topped with the mashed potato mixture. A fork is then used to run across the surface of the mashed potato layer to create ridges which, after being baked in the oven, will pick up not only lovely shades of brown but also some crispy bits.
- the pie is baked in a preheated oven of 200C for about 30 minutes or so until the top is slightly browned as in pic.
Although, I had to wake up a little bit earlier than usual to get this dish prepared, I still had time to snap a couple of pics and the end result on Friday morning was most satisfying, with a peck on the cheek from hubby as he carted the casserole dish out of the door. Will remind hubby of the extra 'brownie points' at the appropriate time in the future!