All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

shepherd's pie with thyme and red-skinned potatoes

You must know by now that thyme holds the number one place in my herb heart. And thyme specifically does marvelous things to a fine roasted chicken, a beef and wine stew, and even the lowly shepherd's pie. The aromatic oils in thyme are released as the dish is simmered - one reason one adds thyme at the beginning of the recipe, rather than the end, as you would with basil.

When Fall rolls around, so, invaribly, does shepherd's pie season. You can use a mix of ground lamb and ground chuck , which has more flavor than ground sirloin, or just the ground chuck. I've been meaning to try ground turkey instead of meat - I think it would make a wonderful pie!

If you pinch off tablespoon sized chunks of meat and saute them in butter and oil for shepherd's pie, it gives a little texture, and more flavor, and it's certainly more appealing than a few inches of pebbly, grainy, cooked hamburger.

I made this for one small, three year old Fairy Princess on Halloween , just before she headed out to go Trick or Treating, hoping to avoid the dreaded candy meltdown, and happy to say it worked.

I tend to use red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, for the whipped potato topping - and lots of it, with a little butter drizzling on top. I'd say about 1/3 meat to 2/3rds potato. You can make one big shepherd's pie, or do individual servings.

To make about 4 servings:

5-6 good sized organic red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and quartered

1 pound of really good hamburger or hamburger and ground lamb, pinched into tablespoon sized pieces

1 large onion, roughly chopped

2 t. or more thyme

salt and pepper

4 T. unsalted butter ( for the potatoes)

1 T. unsalted butter ( for the onion)
1 T. olive oil

about 1/3 cup milk

Heat one tablespoon butter in a skillet and add the chopped onion. Stir and cook on medium heat until the onion is golden. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Add the hamburger or lamb to the same skillet, adding olive oil, the thyme, and a little salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high heat until meat is almost cooked through.

Mix the onion into the skillet with the meat, then scrape into a casserole dish.

Add the potatoes to a large pot of water , making sure you have about 3 inches of water covering the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Drain the potatoes and place in a mixer bowl, along with the milk and butter. Whip the potatoes until creamy and fluffy . (potatoes have to be whipped while still hot, or they won't be creamy)

Smooth the potatoes over the meat and onion mixture and place in a medium oven, covered, for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot, with a few small pieces of butter melting on top. Yum, yum!

Top photo credit J. Dawson


Barb said...

Mmmm! This sounds really delicious - I'm going to have to give this recipe a try. Sounds good for a good Fall day.

Any chance we could see a picture of that three year old Fairy Princess?

katrina hall said...

Oh, I wish, Barb! It was a cool, rainy night, and our 3 year old was quick on the trick or treating - meaning no time to get a picture. I am so sorry, because she looked splendid! A fancy Princess dress, along with sparkling pink light up shoes - oh my! She enchanted every house she visited - as well as her Grandmama!

katrina said...

Ah - here's our fairy princess, Barb! isn't she just the sweetest little one?

Enjoy that fabulous smile, just like her Mama's!

Jennifer A. Wickes said...

HI, Katrina! I love Shepherd's Pie, and my mother's Argentine version. This looks like a great recipe, and your princess is a cutie pie!!!

Amanda said...

Sounds wonderful :) I found a Shepherd's Pie a few months ago that has replaced my old one and it has thyme in it too :)

Barb said...

Oh, Katrina - she is definitely a Princess!! What a beautiful child!! I can see that she would captivate everyone. Your family is so lucky and very blessed.

Thank you for sharing that wonderful picture - love it!

katrina said...

Hi Jennifer! I did scroll through J&J,but couldn't find the recipe. I'm sure it's delicious - and here's to simple, herby, cooking, yes?

katrina said...

Amanda: Thyme is such an amazing herb, especially with meats ( and potatoes, for some reason). All my foodie and chef pals count it as their favorite herb - and me? I love to eat it, but also bathe in it! A half cup or so of thyme steeped in a few cupfuls of hot water = bliss in the bathtub!

katrina said...

Ah, shucks, Barb. So delighted you enjoyed her picture - she is something else! Crazy about her and enjoy her girly self as well as her very confident three year old joy. Merci!

FrugalMom said...

I have never tried making a shepherd's pie before, but it looks like something my husband would enjoy.

katrina said...

Thanks, j r! I know you don't eat meat, and I rarely do, but this is one dish I really love. Must be all those potatoes:)