Winter WarmersPosted: September 19, 2010
One of the greatest things about winter apart from the gorgeousness of winter fashion, is the hearty and satisfying meals that’s almost a necessity to consume. Stews, soups, pies, and meat-heavy dishes that fills your tummy up and warms your body and heart. Is there anything better?
If it isn’t already obvious, winter is one of my favourite seasons and I kinda hate summer. You would too if you grew up in sunny and humid Malaysia. The scorching heat is never pleasant!
A dish I’d been craving the entire winter is Shepherd’s Pie but somehow life always seemed to get in the way of me making it. But I finally got around to making it and dare I say, it was one of the best Shepherd’s Pie I’d ever made simply with a few additions of choice ingredients that helped elevate the taste of everything to a whole new degree.
Soph’s-Possibly-Inauthentic Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 4-5 hungry people
1 brown onion, diced
500g lamb mince, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 green capsicum, seeded and diced
6 fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
A tub of tomato paste
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Red wine, as much as you like – I didn’t measure so I’m guessing I had about 3/4 cup in there
4 large potatoes, mashed with butter and milk and seasoned with salt
1. Heat up about 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a deep pan or if you’re as Asian as I am, use your wok. Fry onions until translucent then add in minced lamb. Cook until lamb no longer looks pink.
2. Add in carrots, capsicum, tomatoes and rosemary leaves. Stir to combine.
3. Add in tomato paste and red wine. Mix through well and cover pan and lower fire to low-medium heat and allow mixture to simmer and for tomatoes to completely disintegrate (you can help it along by pressing on it when it’s soft), about 10-15 minutes. Just keep an eye on it, don’t run away!
4. Add red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave it to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. The dish should be quite thick!
5. Spoon into a deep dish or a casserole.
6. Top with freshly grated mozzarella.
7. Top with mashed potatoes and bake in a preheated 200˚C oven for 30 minutes or until browned.
I actually piped my mashed potatoes to create a more interesting look. I used to just pat the potatoes on and score it with a fork to create a pattern but I much prefer the look of piped potatoes. If nothing else, this encourages you to make the fluffiest, most perfect mashed potatoes ever to make it easy to pipe.
The thing I really liked about this pie was the acidity of the red wine vinegar in the mince. It made such a huge difference to the taste and obviously, the pairing of rosemary with lamb as always is beautiful.
Taking a bite of the pie, my first thoughts were on the texture of it. The crisped tops of the mashed potatoes with the fluffiness of it beneath that, combined with the soft texture of the mince was just great.
As always, I had leftovers but I happily dug into it days after making it.
Really, can you blame me?