Midnight Comfort Food: Shepherd’s Pie
You may not believe that a good Shepherd’s Pie could be your next quick supper. Come midnight, you are probably scouring the refrigerator (again) for leftovers or ingredients to whip up an easy meal. Eventually, you will just grab a bag of chips from the pantry like the many times you had done so. Yippee.
But hey, what if you opened the freezer compartment and there sit snack portions of amazingly comforting, wholesome-ly yummy Shepherd’s Pie? You will want to heat one up while you dance around the kitchen celebrating because you get a hot midnight snack in just minutes.
I’m definitely celebrating with you, because my freezer now has several portions of it! What an ingenious meal prep option.
How easy it is to just pop it into the microwave, or you can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and bake it in the oven with extra shredded mozzarella cheese. I am astounded at the simplicity in its preparation, yet the complexity in textures and flavours.
Of course, you can eat this anytime of the day, not just midnight. I mean, who can resist this?
While a traditional Shepherd’s Pie is actually made with lamb (shepherd, lamb, geddit?), you may use minced chicken, beef or lamb in this recipe, whichever you prefer.
I made this with minced beef, and a good splash of red wine and worcestershire sauce, where the secret of a good ‘ol Shepherd’s Pie lies.
Here’s the recipe:
Midnight Shepherd’s Pie
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g minced beef, lamb or chicken
1 large carrot, diced finely
1 large onion, diced finely
2-3 stalks of celery, diced finely
½ cup white or brown mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
2 large tomatoes, diced finely (optional)
A small bunch of fresh rosemary or 10g dried
A small bunch of fresh thyme or 10g dried
5 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
10g Worcestershire sauce
1 can Tomato Puree or Paste
Red wine (as much as you like)
60g (¼ cup) chicken stock (or 2 teaspoons chicken stock powder in ¼ cup warm water)
The Potato Mash
700g Yukon golden potatoes or any other potatoes
60g (¼ cup) heavy cream/ full cream milk/ evaporated milk
50g-80g salted butter (according to preference)
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
60g (¼ cup) parmesan or cheddar cheese (or both)
60g mozzarella cheese (for topping)
Cooking the Potatoes
- Cook potatoes in boiling water with a pinch of salt for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft enough for a chopstick to pierce through. When ready, strain and immediately add all other ingredients for the potato mash, EXCEPT the mozzarella cheese, into the hot potatoes and mash them together. Set aside.
Cooking the Filling
- Fry the onions in a large frying pan until they are soft and slighly browned. Add the meat and cook until they are no longer pink. Use a wooden spoon to make cutting motions to break the meat into smaller pieces. Add garlic and stir fry for another minute, and then add carrots, celery, rosemary and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add worcestershire sauce and tomato puree, stir well to combine and then pour in several good glugs of red wine. Let it simmer for 3 minutes and for the alcohol to evaporate. Add chicken stock and cook for 3 more minutes with the lid on.
Assembling the Pie
- Pour the meat into a casserole or oven safe dish, and add the potato mash on top. Spread it slowly and carefully, taking care not to mix too roughly as this will cause the meat to be mixed into the mash. What you want is 2 clear layers of meat and mash. Drag a fork around the mash to cause a peaked surface, and then sprinkle mozzarella cheese over if you like.
- To prepare the pie for the freezer, allow it to cool thoroughly before wrapping in clingwrap, baking paper or aluminium foil and stick it in the freezer. For consumption, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and place it in the oven at 400F degrees for 20-30 minutes to brown the potatoes and set the pie. The baking time for freshly prepared pies would be shorter, for 8-10 minutes.
-You can use any vegetables to complement the meat.
-Yukon potatoes are my preferred choice, but you can go ahead and use other types of potatoes.
-If you do not have milk or heavy cream, evaporated milk is a good substitute. It can give your potato mash a similar creaminess, with lesser calories.
-These pies can stay in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Shepherd’s Pie is my newest and favourite-est go-to meal now when I need some comfort food in the chilly night. Until I find a new favourite. 🙂