More comfort food. This time, it's back to basics. A friend requested that I post some simple, classic and healthy recipes that she can easily do at home. She is also interested in meals that can be frozen. So here is the first "Back to Basic" recipe: Shepherd's Pie, sometimes referred to as Cottage Pie or Potato Pie, a traditional British dish made of a bottom layer of cooked mince meat and covered with mashed potato (with an optional top layer of cheese). Traditionally, lamb mince is used, but I prefer beef. If fish is used, it is called a Fisherman's Pie. In American, a varient of this pie is called a Cowboy Pie, also referred to as pâté chinois by the French Canadians. A vegetarian version is sometimes called a Shepherdess Pie.
This week's herb blogging is about yet another humble herb that we have in our garden - Thyme (Origin: Southern Europe).
Thyme is a aromatic herb which is part of the mint family. It is a herb that can be used with other herbs because it blends and enhances many other herbs without overpowering them. There are over a 100 varieties available, including lemon thyme, which combines the aroma of thyme with lemons. The one pictured here is the common or garden thyme which has a subtle woody aroma. Thyme is probably best known as one of the primary components (together with sprigs of parsley and bay leaf) of the classic bouquet garni.
Back to the pie: There are many recipes out there and many of you probably have you own family recipes that have been passed down through generations. The first time Ihad Shepherd's Pie was when my sister moved to England more than a decade ago. I couldn't get a hold of her recipe when I made this because she was on vacation so I used this recipe instead, which is a slight variation of a true classic Shepherd's Pie.
My adjustments to the recipe:
I used the leanest minced beef I could find, I added 2 cloves of mince garlic, 2 tbsp of Worcheshire sauce and about a cup of frozen peas to the meat and did not use any butter for the mash potato. We were also too impatient to wait for it to be baked so I put the pies under the grill instead of baking them. That's why the tops of the pies in the photo turned dark brown.
We both really enjoyed this. The meat layer was very flavoursome and a nice contrast to the fluffy mash potato topping. I also liked the cripsy bits of the potato. Quikong even said that I should make this more often. The addition of parsnips and horseradish in the mash potato really lifts up the dish.
Make more of the meat sauce and freeze for use at a later time. The mash potato topping can be easily whipped up when you are ready to make more pie.
This will be my submission to this week's WHB hosted by The Chocolate Lady from In Mol Araan.