Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bing's Shepard's Pie(My Mother's Shepard Pie)

I had a large supply of potatoes and carrots left to us by my mother. So I have been looking for recipes that use both or either ingredients. Not difficult to do. I like this Shepard's pie recipe as it uses a good amount of veggies and seems flavorful. And it sure was. Bay leaves are one of my favorite herbs. I omitted putting on the egg was at the end. But otherwise very good. 

Bing's Shepard's Pie(My Mother's Shepard Pie)
adapted from The Story of Bing

For the base -
1 kg ground beef
2 large onions, cut into fine pieces
3 carrots, grated
250g fresh brown mushrooms or canned button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 to 9 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 T dried mixed herbs
5 bay leaves
2 to 3 beef bouillon/stock cubes
3 T Bovril
1 t ground back pepper
1/2 to 1 C red wine
5 T plain flour
3 kg white potatoes
1.5 C whole milk
150g butter
1 to 2 chicken stock cubes
3 egg yolks

Add a teaspoon of salt to half a large pot of water and set it on the stove to boil. Meanwhile, peel 3kg of potatoes. Use white potatoes, don’t use the starchy yellow ones.  Cut the potatoes into even size cubes.   When the pot of water is boiling, place the potatoes in and let it boil for about 1/2 hour or until potatoes are VERY tender.  While the potatoes are cooking, pre-heat oven to 200 deg Celsius.  Slice 250g of mushrooms. Peel and grate 3 carrots. Cut 2 large onions into fine pieces. Mince 8 to 9 cloves of garlic.  Add 2 T of cooking oil to a large deep pan. Keep the pan at high heat at all times.  Add the onions.  Stir it around for a minute.  Add the minced garlic.  Stir it around for a minute. And then add 1 kg of ground beef.  Keep stove at high heat and give it a good stir.  Add the carrots.  Add the mushrooms.  Add 1 T of mixed herbs.  Add 5 bay leaves.  Add beef bouillon cubes. Bouillon is just a nicer name for stock.  Add 2-3 cubes of beef bouillon. It depends on the brand you use. Safer to add 2 first. Taste it at the end and add more if necessary.I crumble them with my fingers into the pan. There’s nothing worse than eating into food and biting into a large lump of undissolved stock cube.  Add 3 tablespoons of Bovril.   Add 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stir it all up.  Add 1/2 to 1 C of red wine, depending on how much wine flavor you like in your stew.  After a good stir to combine the ingredients in the pot, sprinkle in 5 tablespoons of plain flour. Sprinkle. Don’t chuck a whole chunk in. You’ll be very sorry when you have flour dumplings in the gravy later.  Stir the flour through. Turn off the fire. Cover tightly and set aside. Now the potatoes should be done. The potatoes must be very tender, otherwise they won’t mash nicely into a soft whipped texture. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot and add in 150g of butter. Mash it up.  Add 1 to 2 cubes of chicken stock, depending on how salty they are. Crumble them in with your fingers.  Add black pepper to taste.  Add 1.5 cups of whole milk (room temperature, not cold).  Stir and mash. Taste. Tweak with milk or seasonings where necessary. You want to get a VERY soft mash. Like KFC whipped potato. Not the hard kind of mash because there’s more cooking to be done. When the mashed potatoes are finger linking good on their own, cover the pot and set aside. Now back to the meat mixture. Dish out the meat stuff into 3 casseroles. My mother always did 3, as far as I can remember. 1 big, 1 medium and 1 small. Fill HALF the dishes with meat mixture.Place the mashed potatoes in a strong freezer zip lock bag. And push the mixture to the bottom of the bag.   Snip off an inch of the bag at the tip of one end at the bottom.  Hold the opened tip carefully and place the bag of potatoes over the casserole dish.  Start piping in straight lines end to end.  Don’t worry about the uneven lines yet.  Once you have the potatoes piped on, use a offset spatula or a jam knife and gently move the surface of the potatoes till you get an even flat top.  Add more mashed potatoes where necessary.  Get 3 beaten egg yolks in a bowl. Brush the egg yolk over the surface of the pies. Load it on generously.  Glide a fork over the surface gently and create lines. Pop the pies into the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top. To give it an extra golden brown, I turned the oven to grill in the last 5 minutes.

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