Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Dutiful Wife's Contribution

Hubby was super nice to me the week before Christmas. In between the smiles and hugs, he let slipped that he was having a Christmas office pot-luck lunch last Friday and wondered whether his lovely wife would make him a little something to share with his office colleagues. As you never know when extra 'brownie points' may come in handy in the future, the dutiful wife said 'yes'. With that Friday being a working day for me and his pot-luck lunch being served at noontime, my only solution was to cook something none-too-elaborate in the early morning which could be easily reheated at noon without too much deterioration to taste and presentation.
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.

Half a Shepherd's Pie
  • 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!

Sherpherd's Pie


Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

Hmmm.....looks delish! Lucky hubby ! All the best in the brownie points and Happy New Year to u and ur family Cath.

12/29/2005 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger The UnProfessional Chef said...

MMM, this looks delicious! Nothing like comfort food after the excesses of Christmas feasting eh?

12/29/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger pfong said...

That looks wonderful. I do love a good shepherd's pie.

12/29/2005 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi foodcrazee, I'm keeping count of 'em brownie points and a happy new year to u and your wife too :)

hi UC, yup, good fluffy mashed potatoes are really quite comforting tho' they do load the calories on :)

thanks pfong.. wish I could send a scoop to you :0

12/29/2005 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Fran said...

This looks delicious and you must be very organized to make this in the morning! This will be on my comfort food list. Thanks.

12/30/2005 12:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Lazy sue said...

Potatoes are my favorite whichever way you cook it. Yummy, yummy.

12/30/2005 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi fran, welcome - I'm actually by nature not such an organized person but shepherd's pie is kinda fool-proof even in the early hours of the morning :)

hi lazy sue, you and my hubby share the same fav vegetable, he's a 'potato-freak'! heeheee...

12/30/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous spots said...

hey this looks really yummy! i shall hv to try this on husband ... but probably a little closer to christmas or some special event! thanks! :)

12/31/2005 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger galinusa said...

The shepherd's pie looks really delicious! Coincidentall, I also made one for a friend's Christmas potluck, although it was a vegetarian version it was still a hit with everyone! I reckon it was the comfort factor, something just so associative with anything mashed potato.

1/02/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi spots, no need to wait for a special event, shepherd's pie is comfort food, good for any ole' day :)

hi galinusa, a vegetarian version indeed, that's interesting. Besides, carrots, celery and peas, what else do you use as filling?

1/02/2006 10:05:00 PM  

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