I have the urge to start almost every post with ‘I am lazy‘. Judgement on my personal character aside, what I’m trying to convey is that although I enjoy cooking (most days), I’m usually trying to minimize the effort required in the kitchen.
This version of Shepherd’s Pie is the result of me throwing together dinner a few days ago-making the best use of my CSA ingredients and keeping the time/effort to a minimum.
Using a few basic cooking principles- browning meat to develop flavor, roasting the veggies to bring out their sweetness and the timeless art of mashed potatoes this amounted to a deceptively delicious dinner.
I’m a big fan of simple, home style meals. These type of dishes evolved in the family kitchen, using easily accessible ingredients. I feel like the cooks of today have the chance to take these kind of meals to the next level- revolve them around healthy, organic, local ingredients and maybe add a few tweeks here and there.
Shepherd’s pie can amount to a sloppy mess when it’s made with ground beef and finely diced veggies. With this recipe the smooth layer of mashed potatoes caps the chunky cuts of beef and veggies. With such great flavor in the CSA produce it would be a shame to cook them into a uniform mass.
It might sound like there is a bunch of steps involved with this recipe. Don’t let that throw you off, the active cooking time is quick and simple. I made this using the spare moments I could find between wrangling children and assembling Ikea furniture.
Localvore’s Shepherd’s Pie
- Blade Steak or other cheap cut- 1 lb- Sliced thinly
- Onions- 2 Bulbs- Cut into 1/4s
- Garlic- 2 Bulbs- Sliced Thickly
- Zucchini- 1 Medium- Slice into 1/2 inch chunks
- Green Beans- 1 1/2 Cups- Cut into 1/2 or 1/3
- Balsamic Vinegar- 2 Tablespoons
- 1/4 Cup water or stock
- 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch mixed with a 1/4 cold water (aka a slurry)
- Salt and Pepper
Heat up a pan with some olive oil on medium-high heat. Brown the steak, do it in two batches to avoid crowding the pan. Take the browned meat out of the pan and place it to the side.
Toss in the 1/4 cup of water/stock, run a wooden spoon over the bottom of the pan to dissolve the brown bits (fond lie) into the water. Throw in a splash of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350f.
Add the onions, garlic, zucchini and green beans, and browned meat to the pan. Toss with some olive oil. Place this in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the veggies have roasted.
Remove the pan from the oven. Add the cornstarch and water mixture (slurry) and stir. Top with mashed potatoes. Throw back into the oven when ever you are almost ready to eat and heat on 400f for 10-15 minutes.
- 5 Medium Potatoes- peeled or not (your choice)
- 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- Salt and Pepper
Boil the potatoes until they are soft. Drain.
Mash them up- use a potato masher, ricer, mixer, what ever you like. Throw in the sour cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt.
You can add in some chopped parsley or scallions if you’d like, I usually do for color. Set aside.