Apparently the temperature is now plummeting lower in Ottawa than on Mars. I suppose we are now in, what some would call, the dead-of-winter;that time of year when nothing but warm, calorie dense food and seed catalogues are the only thing we have to make it through.
To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of shepherd’s pie. Never has there been an instance in my entire life, when I was considering what I wanted to eat and shepherd’s pie came to mind; there’s just something so wrong about all those tiny, previously frozen, vegetables lurking underneath a bed of irresistibly smooth mash – like raisins hiding in a butter tart, yuck! But, I was invited over to a friend’s house for dinner recently and she made a shepherd’s pie that made me reconsider my entire stance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not completely on board the shepherd’s pie train, this recipe did produce a really delicious meal, I dare say I would make it again.
Saucy Shiraz Shepherd’s Pie
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets, about 1 1/2 cups
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp 18% cream
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
500 g lean ground beef, or lamb
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, diced small
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 cup shiraz
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup no-salt beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan, optional
Cover potatoes and cauliflower with cold water in a large pot and set over high. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium. Gently boil until tender, 10 to 12 min. Drain. Melt butter with cream, mustard, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in same pot over low. Return vegetables to pot and coarsely mash. Set aside.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Crumble in beef, cook until no pink remains, 2 to 3 min. Add onion, garlic, carrot, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook until onion softens, 3 to 4 min.
Add wine, cook for 2 min. Sprinkle flour over meat mixture and stir. Add broth, tomato paste, rosemary and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 min. Divide among ramekins. Spoon potato mixture on top. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Position a rack in upper third of oven. Preheat broiler. Set ramekins on a baking sheet and broil until golden.