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Author Topic: epic fail: shepherd's pie  (Read 4863 times)

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lollergirl

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epic fail: shepherd's pie
« on: August 04, 2008, 05:44:17 PM »
all the talk about shepherd's pie in the potluck thread made me want to try my hand at it.  so i found an "authentic english shepherd's pie" recipe & cross referenced it with what others posters in the potluck thread recommended.  i bought everything i needed on saturday. 

lesson #1: lamb is 4 times as expensive as beef.  $8 a pound.  ouch.

i made it for supper last night.  i put my meat mixture in the bottom of a pie dish, added a layer of cheese & topped it with mashed potatoes.

lesson #2: moose really loves cheese.  always grate an extra cup as he will be stealing pinches of it while you prepare the rest of the dish.

it looked good going in the oven and looked great coming out.  i let it sit for a few minutes before serving.  and this is where the fail comes in: the meat mixture didn't bind.  we ended up with twice cooked potatoes & savory lamb gravy.  moose was in heaven.  he loves lamb.

lesson #3: i don't like lamb.

weird, huh?  news to me.  admittedly, the only time i've eaten lamb was in greek cooking which involved a very flavorful sauce on the meat.  it never occurred to me that i wouldn't like less-adorned lamb.  but it was all i could do to choke down a few bites of dinner last night.  *shrug* i just couldn't do it.  so i had a giant salad and the leftover potatoes for dinner while moose all but licked the serving dish clean. 

i guess next time i'll make what i now know is "cottage pie" using beef instead of lamb.  but i need some advice on getting the meat to bind.  i partially cooked the meat to get rid of some of the grease.  i added a cup of gravy along with spices & cooked onion to form the meat mixture.  am i missing something?  should i be adding something extra to make it bind or did i not cook it long enough?  when i make meat loaf i add egg & bread crumbs.  do i need to do that with the pie? 

SkylerY

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2008, 05:51:40 PM »
This recipe is with beef, but it came from a couple who are actually from Ireland.  I had it at their house and it was quite good.  I got the recipe from the wife, and it appears she uses a cornstarch/cornflour mixture as a thickening/binding agent.

I added the recipe to the Cookbook section for you to look at, maybe it'll help:

Shepherd's Pie
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=116.msg914056#new


AprilRenee

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2008, 05:53:20 PM »
what I do is cook gruond beef, put it in the bottom of the pot, add a layer of corn and then I make the mashed potato's, but I mix the cheese and gravy (I use condensed cream of mushroom soup) into the potato's, put them on top of the beef and then add some more cheese on top of it all.

Clara Bow

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 02:02:31 PM »
I mix browned ground beef, frozen mixed vegetables and tomato sauce, top with fresh mashed potatoes and slices of American cheese. It's not the super traditional, but my husband could eat it by the truckload.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 02:14:43 PM »
I think your thread title is a bit of a misnomer. It can't be an 'epic fail' if Moose lapped it up!   :)

Epic fail is when it is so bad, you wouldn't even feed it to the pigs...  :D
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Wulfie

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 02:23:37 PM »
I usually use left overs for my shepherds pie. Toss all the left over veggies and meat scraps (usually try to stay with the same species. IE all beef, All turkey (doesn't work that well) All pork. Toss in my favorite sloppy joe mixture (I can gallons of it every year). Add cheese. Toss mashed potatoes on top. and put in the oven until done. It is a huge hit.

I used to make huge batches of it when my (now ex) hubby was in the navy and had a duty night. His captain would even ask him with sad eyes if I was bringing it that night so he could have some also.  Granted the ship cooks were REALLY bad but there is just something about sheperd's pie that brings big burly sailors to their knees.

TaylorMade

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2008, 02:46:07 PM »
This is a very very good recipe for Cottage Pie.   It uses a little bit of cinnamon in the beef which adds a nice flavor (I don't use the whole 1/2 teaspoon since the flavor of cinnamon is strong):

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Proper-English-Cottage-Pie/Detail.aspx

I LOVE this recipe (And to make it really easy buy the pre-made mash potatoes in the tub :) )

camlan

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2008, 02:55:51 PM »
My meat usually doesn't bind, either. I figure as long as it tastes good, it's no big deal. I usually use this recipe:
http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/477/Irish_Rovers_Unicorn_Pub_Shepherds_Pie10086.shtml  It doesn't have cheese, but I just add some anyway. I tend to make this for when I have people over and I've only gotten compliments on it.
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Sophia

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 03:04:49 PM »
Don't brown the meat too much.  You know how the grease seems to mostly come out at the very beginning of browning?  That is all you need.  In fact, if all the ground beef I have happens to be lean already, I don't bother with that step. 

Brentwood

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2008, 03:14:32 PM »
Here's what I do:

Brown ground beef with onions. Drain if necessary. Add water or broth, stirring and scraping up the brown bits. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, gradually add a cornstarch slurry while stirring constantly, reduce the heat, and boil a minute or so to thicken. This makes a good, rich hamburger gravy.

Spread the meat mixture into the bottom of a baking dish (I used a casserole with high sides). Top with frozen vegetables which have been thawed (par-cooked fresh vegetables also work well, but I find that canned vegetables are too mushy). Dot the vegetables with butter and season to taste. Top with mounds of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Bake in a 375 degree oven until everything is heated throughout and the top of the potatoes is golden brown.

I'm a cheese lover, but I never put cheese in shepherd's (or rather, cottage) pie.

lollergirl

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2008, 03:19:36 PM »
I think your thread title is a bit of a misnomer. It can't be an 'epic fail' if Moose lapped it up!   :)

Epic fail is when it is so bad, you wouldn't even feed it to the pigs...  :D

that's what he said but i still dry heave a little when i think about it.  *shudder*  i can't believe how much i didn't like the taste. 

thanks to everyone for the suggestions.  it does appear that my main problem is lack of a thickening agent.  the recipe i used called for gravy to be added but i don't think it had the same effect (affect?) that adding the constituents of gravy will have.  i'm also gonna put more stuff in it next time: vegetables, more cheese, additional seasoning.  and i think i'll try to smoosh the potatoes down a little more, to sort of trap some of the filling on the underside, ya know?

i'm still up in the air as to whether i should try it with lamb again.  i'm hoping the addition of more stuff will help detract from the, well, lamb taste.  or i may just punk out & go with cottage pie instead. *shrug*
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 03:21:08 PM by lollergirl »

Sophia

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2008, 08:43:50 PM »
How do you feel about leftovers?  I think they are the best convenience food.  If you like them, you could make both versions since everything else is the same. 

Summrs

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 08:48:16 PM »
My mock shepherd's pie is made with manwich sauce.  Make up the ground beef like you would for sloppy joes... then throw in a can of corn and a can of green beans, mix, throw it in a casserole, top with mashed potatoes, dot with butter and bake until hot, bubbly and golden on top.

GlindaBunny

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2008, 11:32:16 PM »
You might've gotten bad lamb.  I wouldn't buy lamb if I wasn't sure of the source - many places still sell "lamb" from older sheep, which tastes like lanolin.  Blech.

There's a good lamb company in this state, so we're fortunate in that regard.


I always cook the meat with onions, drain it if necessary, add some flour, stir, then add a little beef stock.  I add celery and carrots, simmer until they're cooked, then add any other veggies I feel like adding (frozen peas or green beans).  Once the peas are warm, I top it with mashed potatoes.  Usually by then I'm too impatient to bake it, so I torch the top (or leave it untorched - my family eats it just the same).

I never use cheese in shepherd's or cottage pie.  Meat needs something to bind it - flour or cornstarch and a little liquid work well in this dish.  It's supposed to be gravy-like at the bottom.

artk2002

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Re: epic fail: shepherd's pie
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2008, 06:26:31 PM »
You might've gotten bad lamb.  I wouldn't buy lamb if I wasn't sure of the source - many places still sell "lamb" from older sheep, which tastes like lanolin.  Blech.

"Mutton dressed as lamb?"
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