I am on a roll this week for rebellious and against-the-rules concoctions. Not only that, but it seems that I am also cooking completely off-season. Looking at the front page right now, I see all things cheesy and bakey, and orange in color, which are typical fall dishes, all cooked very recently. But I don’t care. It seems that all you see in the bottomless pits of the Internet these days is frozen pops and ice cream recipes. One might think that this is all people eat in summer — frozen treats. But we all know this is not true.
Today’s dinner is, like all good things, an accident. I started making a shepherd’s pie, only to discover mid-process that I am short on potatoes. Somehow I can never keep track of potatoes in my vegetable drawer. I either have way too many or not enough. Thanks to my enormous hubris, I always think my cooking is going to turn out amazing, no matter what, so in goes a generously sized sweet potato, along with the three little sorry potatoes.
Well, what do you know! It wasn’t half bad, wasn’t bad enough for me to take pictures and post this. And even though it doesn’t come with a side of tear-jerking story of my childhood this time, it’s still somehow turned out to be a robust and satisfying home made meal, good for any season. There, I said it (my hubris made me do it!)
And if you feel very strongly about eating seasonally, you can make yourself some spectacular frozen pops for dessert.
Sweet Potato Sherherd’s Pie
- 2 tbsp cooking fat, I used tallow
- 1 large onion
- 4-5 medium carrots, I used multicolored ones, just for fun
- 2 stalks celery
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 lbs ground beef or lamb, not too fatty
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 generous tbsp mustard, I used Dijon
- 1 large ripe tomato
- 1 generous tbsp ketchup
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 small bay leaves
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 medium red potatoes
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1/4 cup cream or sour cream
- 1-2 oz of grated cheese (optional)
- Peel and dice potatoes and sweet potatoes. Cover with cold water in a sauce pan. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until done, for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, In a large skillet, heat the cooking fat over medium low
- Dice carrots, onions and celery uniformly (small dice)
- Chop or sliver garlic
- Add vegetables to the skillet and saute, occasionally stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft, golden and fragrant.
- Add ground meat at this time, breaking it down with a spatula.
- Add thyme and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Saute with vegetables and ultimately brown, for about 10 minutes more.
- Add wine, and scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen all the stuck bits. Stir well. Continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes longer, or until wine reduces in half.
- Add mustard, finely chopped ripe tomato and ketchup at this time. Stir everything very well and continue cooking, stirring frequently for about 5-6 more minutes, or until wine is almost completely absorbed.
- When potatoes are ready, drain the water carefully.
- Add about 1/4 cup cream or sour cream, and mash nicely. Check for salt and adjust if necessary.
- Add a small handful of fresh thyme leaves, reserving a little bit for garnish.
- If desire, add a handful of grated cheese and mash again.
- Transfer the meat filling into an ovenproof casserole dish or a cast iron skillet, level with a spatula.
- Fold the mashed potatoes out over the filling. Level with a moistened spatula, ensuring a good seal around the edges of the casserole.
- Make patterns on the potatoes with a fork, if desire. Sprinkle a small amount of fresh thyme leaves over the potatoes.
- Bake in the middle of the preheated to 400°F (200°C) oven for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are nicely golden, and browned on top.
- Let the pie stand for a few minutes before serving.
- Potato Moussaka With Bolognese Sauce (eatalready.com)