Happy Pi Day 3/14!

Pi Day is usually full of sweet pies from berry to lemon, and pumpkin to rhubarb… But today we go a little Irish! Introducing our take on the traditional Shepherd’s Pie -a one dish meal that includes meat and all your veggies!

Shepherd’s Pie

Okay, okay I know it’s not really a pie, but you could always serve pie for dessert with this and really enjoy Pi Day tonight or any day! We made this Shepherd’s Pie really Irish by using lamb, leeks, and turnips! (If you don’t like lamb, use ground beef)

Ingredients:

MEAT
1 lbs Diced Lamb ( I used leg of lamb, can substitute 1 lbs ground beef or lamb)
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbs. Thyme (fresh or dried)

GRAVY
2 Cups Beef Broth (2 cans)
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Flour (heaping tbs)

VEGGIES
1 Cup Diced Carrots
1/2 Cup Diced Celery
1/2 Cup Diced Leeks (cut and rinse in bowl of cold water)
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas

MASH
4 Large Red Potatoes (peeled and diced)
4 Large Turnips (peeled and diced)
1 Clove Garlic (mashed and minced, or use a garlic press)
1 Tbs. Salt
1 tsp. Sugar
1 Tbs. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
2 Tbs. Unsalted Butter

Directions:

Bake in a 9x13x2″ glass baking pan. Preheat oven to 375 F.

Prepping Mash
1. Start by peeling all of your potatoes and turnips. If you don’t have large potatoes or turnips then use 6-8 small ones of each, just make sure you’re doing 1:1 potatoes to turnips. While peeling and prepping veggies, set a large stock pot with about 2 quarts or more water to a boil. Once the water is boiling and your potatoes and turnips are peeled and diced, throw them into your water. You can salt the water if you wish, I can never get that right, so I salt the mashed potatoes and turnips while mashing.

Prepping Meat
2. While the above is boiling away, I prep my meat. If you’re using ground meat you’ve got it easy, simply season with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. If you want to use leg of lamb (or another lamb roast) you will need to trim any fat and silver skin. I trimmed all of mine off for really lean and not chewy meat. Then I diced the meat pretty small, like 1 centimeter in either direction, make sure all of the pieces that you are dicing are the same size so they will cook evenly. Once the meat is diced, season it liberally; set aside.

Dice Veggies
3. Continue to let your potatoes and turnips boil until they are tender enough to mash, you don’t have to over cook them, they just need to be tender enough. If you’re using ground meat, the potatoes and turnips are probably still cooking, so you can move on to prepping the rest of your veggies. Rinse and dice all of your veggies for the inside of the pie. For the leeks trim the top leaves off, and only dice the white bulb-like bottoms. Dice the bottoms, and then place the leeks into a bowl of cold water, dip them a few times submerging them in the water, and then let them rise to the top of the bowl and sit for a few minutes. The dirt and sediment that is always in leeks will fall to the bottom of your bowl. Then you can scoop the leeks out of the water with a spider and into your baking dish.

Mash
4. By this time your potatoes and turnips should be done. Drain them or scoop them out with a spider into a large mixing bowl or into your stand mixer. Add butter, salt, sugar, garlic and pepper. Mix well into a light and fluffy mash. Why sugar? Turnips can actually taste differently to each person depending on their genetic makeup. Yes, I know weird?! Some people will think turnips have an overly tart or sour taste to them. So even though these are mixed with potatoes, I think adding a pinch of sugar counteracts that odd genetic reaction. Set the mash aside for now.

Meat and Gravy
5. Back to your meat. Heat a large pan to very hot, and coat the bottom with some olive oil. While heating that pan, grab a sauce pot and heat your beef broth to super hot, almost boiling. Melt 2 Tbs. Butter in a bowl in the microwave, then add 2 heaping Tbs. of Flour to the butter to create a roux. Allow your broth to get super hot… Turn to your meat and throw it into your hot prepared pan, sear/brown both sides of your diced or ground meat, but do not cook all the way through. After just about a minute on each side, remove the meat from the heat and into your baking pan… Return to your broth, and add the roux of butter and flour, use a whisk to dissolve the roux into the broth. Bring the gravy to a boil to thicken.

Bake
6. Combine meat and all of the inside veggies together and into the bottom of your baking pan. Remove gravy from heat and pour over the meat and veggies. Top the pie with your mash. Place in your preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until your veggies are tender and your mash has browned.

I put mine into individual ramekins and set them in a baking sheet to catch spills in the oven.

Okay, so I know that looks like a lot of directions, and it does take some time. But it is so worth it! Everyone cleaned their plates, and couldn’t stop talking about it! As always, I served it with some bread to sop up all of that yummy gravy.

Time: 1 1/2 hours (give or take for prep time)
Makes: 6 servings (I mean it will feed 6 adults)

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