Did you know this week is National Food Bank Week?
We thought we'd share some variations of a classic recipe today, Shepherd's Pie, that can be included with food bank donations. The ingredients of Shepherd's Pie can keep for days, if not weeks, and can range from very simple to elegant. Perhaps you can make up a "Shepherd's Pie Kit" for your local food bank this week.
Here is a very simple recipe that uses almost exclusively inexpensive ingredients that will keep (frozen or in the pantry) for many weeks. The only exception is a1/2 cup of milk. This recipe is also great for making use of the canned goods you've got in the cupboard or pleasing a finicky eater with simple tastes.
- 1/2 lb hamburger
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1-2 cans of vegetables
- 2 tbsps flour
- 1-2 cubes beef bouillon
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 box instant mashed potatoes
- 1/2 cup milk
Fry 1/2 pound hamburger and drain grease. Add 1 chopped onion, garlic, and 1-2 cans of vegetables, drained. Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in two tablespoons of flour, add 1 cup water with some beef bouillon dissolved in it, 1/2 cup milk, and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup. If you have some cheese, add it (or a packet of cheese powder from boxed macaroni and cheese. Creamed corn works well in this recipe. Put in a casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. If you don't have any hamburger, you can use chopped spam, or sliced wieners, or a can of chicken.
And here is a more elaborate version from Alton Brown and Good Eats, which includes more perishable items like butter, egg and half-and-half, and uses lamb instead of hamburger.
We recommend finding a happy medium between the two dishes to make up your kit, or look to a one-dish meal cookbook for more ideas. The Big Book of Casseroles is one of our favorites.
For the potatoes:
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg yolk
For the meat filling:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
DirectionsPeel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly. Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.