Surely this has to be the last snow storm of a very long winter. Another 8 inches of the white stuff fell from the sky last night. The only way to cope with more cold is Shepherd's Pie. I used buttermilk in the mashed potatoes to give them a slightly tangy edge but then added butter and cheddar cheese to round it all out. I cooked the ragu for a couple of hours on the stove top, it's not absolutely necessary but I think it develops a richer flavor that way. Make individual pies or one large one, my children seem to like the individual approach and I'm happy to oblige.
6-8 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup buttermilk
4 oz grated cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
A handful of fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb of best quality ground beef
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, washed and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, mashed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary and parsley
1 cup of beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
A good shake of Worcestershire sauce
1, 14oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of frozen peas
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Heat the oven to 375 F
Make the mashed potatoes and set aside.
In a saute pan heat the olive oil, brown the meat, pour off any excess fat and set the meat aside in a bowl covered with aluminum foil.
Add a little more olive oil to the pan and saute the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary and parsley and garlic for about 8-10 minutes until soft and slightly golden.
Add the meat back in the pan with the vegetables.
Season well with salt and pepper, add the tomato paste, beef broth, tomatoes, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Combine well, bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer. Leave on a simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. At this point add the frozen peas.
Mix the butter and the flour together to form a paste, add a tablespoon of the ragu and thoroughly mix then pour back into the meat sauce. Stir to incorporate and simmer for a few minutes.
Pour the meat ragu into an ovenproof dish, top with mashed potato making a swirly pattern with a fork. Place the dish on a baking tray and put in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the potato is very slightly browned in spots.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve.