I just got back from a lovely trip to the UK, visiting Berkshire and Brighton. Fortunately, the weather was amazing and it hardly ever rained throughout the whole week of my stay. One of the things I love about the UK are the pubs and the pub grub. I could eat Fish and Chips and a well-made Sunday Roast any day of the week and I wouldn’t mind an occasional pint either. Getting back to work in the middle of the week and returning to a chilly German Fall, I felt the urge to prepare some comfort food this weekend. Therefore I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie – hearty, warm and comforting …ergo, perfect.
I adapted the recipe of Donal Skehan’s recipe for Roast Garlic Shepherd’s Pie and added some Scotch Whisky. It wasn’t difficult to make at all and turned out quite nice.
2 garlic bulb
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion , chopped
3 medium carrots , chopped
1 pound (500 grams) of ground meat (use anything you like, I used a pork and beef-mix)
3 tablespoons tomato purée
4 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
a pinch of sugar
1/3 cup (75 ml) of Scotch Whisky
1 3/4 cups (400ml) of beef stock
2 pounds (1 kilo) of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks ( you can use less, if you prefer to have a thinner layer of mashed potatoes)
3.53 oz (80 grams) of butter
1/3 cup (75 ml) of milk
1. Preheat the oven to 395°F (200°C).
2. Cut the top off the whole garlic bulbs, leaving each clove exposed (that will make it easier to squeeze the roasted garlic in the mashed potatoes). Place it on a heat proof dish, drizzle some olive oil and some coarse salt on top of it and roast in the oven for about 35 minutes.
3. In the meantime, put potato chunks in a big pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender (you can tell if the potatoes are done if you pierce one piece with a fork). Turn off the heat, drain the potatoes and mash (I didn’t have a potato masher so I used a wooden spoon which worked just as well) in the pot. Add milk and butter and stir until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. To add the garlic just squeeze the cloves, the garlic should be as creamy as butter and will melt right into the potato. If you prefer your mashed potatoes to be creamier add more milk. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir to combine.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan and soften onions and carrots over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Turn up the heat to high, add the ground meat and allow to brown. Leave in the pan until the meat is cooked through for about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and the Whisky and then add the beef stock. Turn the heat down and let simmer, partially covered for about 45 minutes.
5.Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Season the ground meat with a little bit of sugar, salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a heatproof dish. You could put the mashed potatoes in a piping bag and pipe it on the pie for a more refined look or just dump it on the meat, even the mash out and use a fork to make a pattern, like I did. Add some freshly ground pepper on top and pop the dish in the oven for another 30 minutes or until the top starts to brown and the filling starts to bubble up at the edges.
I am a sucker for comfort food. Do you have a favorite dish?