My Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie.
It was my mother’s birthday.
In her honour, the hubby and I decided to make her shepherd’s pie recipe and to document it step by step for the generations to come.
We are really proud of this dish. It is incredibly good. Kids, especially will love it.
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
For the potato topping –
3 kg white potatoes
1.5 C whole milk
1 to 2 chicken stock cubes
Final egg wash topping –
3 egg yolks
This step by step demonstration is inspired by The Pioneer Woman.
Meet the cast for the show.
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.
Grab some mixed herbs.
Add 1 T of mixed herbs.
Add 5 bay leaves.
Add beef bouillon cubes. Bouillon is just a nicer name for stock. We’ve used Oxo since I was a kid. It’s the only brand I know.
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.
I love Bovril.
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 flavour 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.
When they are done, they will look like this.
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.
They’ll look like this when you’re done.
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.
How pretty are they!!?
The small one is for individual consumption (in our case, it’s for our first tasting), the medium one is for a relative or friend who likes this pie (in our case, for our neighbour) and the large one is for dinner on the same day with family and friends.
Now for the most important part.. FINAL TASTING.
The first cut.
So far, so good. Potatoes are silky soft. Meat is moist with lots of gravy.
It was delicious!
It was just heavenly. Thin soft egg crust, silky smooth buttery potatoes, eaten together with rich meaty stew.
Too good… mindblasting.
You can find the photos-free recipe for printing here. (large file, please wait for it to download & display)
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