Monday, January 17, 2011

Vegetable Shepherd's Pie-the recipe

Ok, here is the recipe for the Vegetable Shepherd's Pie. My buddy Debbie Burgess tells me to go ahead and publish it. I don't know the chef who created the dish, so my only way to credit her is to point to her website, Chef Mei, Personal Chef Service in Fayetteville, NC.

Here is the recipe with my editorial suggestions in red:

Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
By Chef Mei, a personal chef. Given to me by Debbie Burgess

Mashed potato topping**
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
2 T butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 T chopped parsley.

3 T olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 small leeks (white parts only), halved lengthwise, sliced ½ inch thick and washed
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
(I quartered these)
3 large carrots, cut into ¾-inch dice
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¾-inch dice
(next time I make this, I might try sunchokes. I almost did this time because the grocery store appeared to be out. But the produce guy found some parsnips for me)
1 15-ounce canned cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 C frozen peas, thawed
2 T chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoon dried
1 T chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1 750-ml bottle red Zinfandel or Burgundy wine
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
3 T butter, room temperature
3 T all-purpose flour
4 C vegetable broth heated in microwave
½ C chopped parsley, garnish

**Mashed Potato Topping

Boil 4 large potatoes until tender, 15-25 minutes. Peel and mashed potatoes with 4 tablespoons butter and ½ cup milk. Season to taste and set aside until ready to use. You can also add ½ cup Cheddar cheese to the mixture along with some chopped parsley. Topping is enough to cover a 9x15 baking dish.


Filling: Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onions for 2 minutes; add in leeks, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms and and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium and continue to cook until mushrooms give off liquid, about 5 minutes. Next add carrots, parsnips, and all the herbs. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes until vegetable begins to soften. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.

Add wine to the pot and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 10-15 minutes. While the wine is reducing, mix together butter and flour in a bowl to form a beurre manie.

Add vegetable broth
(As I said in my last post, I think I’d put in only 3 cups of the broth to start, then add more if it’s needed. I felt like there was too much sauce, and too runny.), Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and 2 teaspoon sugar to wine and bring to a low simmer. Whisk in beurre manie until blended and bring to a simmer until sauce slightly thickens, about 4 minutes. Add back the vegetable mixture, thawed peas and beans. Simmer covered for about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Topping: While the filling simmers, prepare mashed potato topping as described above. Melt butter and olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic and basil for about 30 seconds. Add to prepared mashed potato, stir to blend. 
(I think I’d thin this out a bit to make it more spread-able. Maybe pipe it on with a piping bag?)

To Assemble: Preheat broiler. Place filling in a 3-quart baking dish. Place baking dish on baking sheet. Spoon potato mixture over filling and spread evenly to cover. Broil 3 inches from heat until top becomes golden, about 4-6 minutes.

Notes: I sent this to my mom and told her I think this recipe would be just fine salt-free. The wine and butter really make it so savory that I think someone on a salt-free diet, as my dad is, wouldn't miss that tinge of salt at all. 

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