Sunday was a nice relaxing day in our house. I had time to pull out a few cookbooks and really put some thought into our menu’s for the week and grocery shop for those meals. The hubby had requested Shepherd’s Pie a few weeks back, but I just hadn’t had the time to pull it off. Sunday was the day!
I used beef cubes instead of ground beef, because honestly, that is what I like. I followed Martha Stewart’s recipe for the meat portion, doubling the liquid for the “stew” portion. If I had to do it all again, I would have doubled the liquid, but pull out a portion before continuing with the recipe. There was just too much liquid in the pan, but it did reheat, really, really well.
Anyway, the recipe calls for browning the meat, removing it and adding the aromatics, allowing them to sweat. Once they have softened, you add flour and cook for a minute or two. You put the meat back in the pan, add some fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary) and a few dried bay leaves. You add a good helping of red wine and some beef stock. Bring the entire thing to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and partially cover.
The recipe tells you to cook the meat for 1 1/2 hours, I cooked it for 3 hours, I wanted it really tender. I combined some russet potatoes with peeled and diced parsnips and once they were cooked through, I mashed them with butter and cream.
All that was left to do was put the beef in a pan, top it with frozen peas and the vegetable puree and bake until brown and piping hot!
I made a batch of buttermilk biscuits to go along side the meal. It really did turn out spectacular, the meat was so tender and the sauce was perfectly seasoned. We are slowly shifting from heavy winter meals to lighter spring fare and this was a nice, gentle way to say goodbye to a long, cold winter.