Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patty's Day Shepherd's Pie

OK, this is a mash-up. As far as I know, there is nothing traditional about a shepherd's pie recipe that includes corned beef and cabbage. But, why not? Corned beef and cabbage is the traditional St. Patrick's Day dish, though I couldn't find it in any Irish cookbooks. No matter, in the US, it's the dish of choice on March 17, whether you are Irish or not.

Traditionally, shepherd's pie in Ireland is made with lamb. Many recipes on both sides of the pond include lamb, though beef is a more popular choice in the US. Corned beef is tasty but it is very salty. Don't add much (if any) salt to the filling; the corned beef will add plenty and lots of that distinctive corned flavor as well.

This may be a mash-up of shepherd's pie and corned beef and cabbage but it's a mighty tasty one! And, for those of you who don't want to deal with a big 'ole corned beef brisket, this is a fun way to get your corned beef and cabbage from the deli case corned beef.

St. Patrick's Day Shepherd's Pie
(serves 6)

non-stick cooking spray
1 lb. carrot, chopped
1 cup chicken broth, preferably unsalted or low-sodium
1/4 medium head of cabbage, cored and chopped
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
7 oz. corned beef, chopped
2 Tbl. oil
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbl. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. Spray an 11x7x2" baking dish with cooking spray.

Place the carrots and chicken broth in a 3-4 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until carrots tender, about 15 minutes. Place the cabbage, peas, and pearl onions in a large bowl.   Start the potatoes cooking in a large pot of water.

When the carrots are done, pour them and the cooking liquid over the other vegetables. Place the saucepan back over medium heat. Add the oil. Sprinkle in the flour and mix with oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the vegetables, all the liquid in the bowl, corned beef, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix to combine and pour into baking dish.

When the potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes), drain them, and put back in the pot. Add milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Mash until fairly smooth. Spread on top of filling. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle on shredded cheese and bake until cheese has melted.

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