Saturday, January 22, 2011
Shepard's Pie/Beef Pot Pie/Beef Tart?
You can call this whatever you want and you can make it however you want. That's what makes it easy to make when you've got little to work with and it's hearty enough to keep you full for half the week... at least it was for me anyhow. I made the crust from a Deluxe double crust recipe out of the Joy of Cooking. The original recipe for crust seemed to use a lot more shortening. The deluxe recipe used a lot more butter (2 sticks!) Maybe this is standard for crust making but either way I was kind of frightened by using a lot of shortening or butter. It made the dough very sticky, hard to roll out with a rolling pin. I gave up the traditional effort of rolling out the dough a surface and placing it within the pie plate and basically threw the dough directly into the pie plate and molded from there. It surprisingly worked.
I burnt the crust a bit because I was worried that it was too soft to be cooked through. It wasn't until I burnt the crust that I realized that the crust was supposed to be soft, crumbly and easy to fall apart. After it cooled, however, it tended to stay together a lot better. When I reheated the pie, the whole thing kind of fell apart but it was somewhat tasty anyhow. I could taste a lot of butter in the crust still. Perhaps next time I will try to find an alternative pie crust recipe that won't seem so frightening.
The filling was simple. I suggest using whatever leftover ingredients you have. I had a pound of ground beef, onions, carrots, peas and cabbage. I omitted the cabbage and sauteed the beef, onions, carrots and peas with some garlic and added some cornstarch with luke warm water bit by bit to thicken the juices. I seasoned the beef with paprika, a little garam masala, a bit of coriander, turmeric, a wee bit of cinnamon and nutmeg and some cayenne. The beef pot pie recipe called for curry powder. I found it here: http://almostbourdain.blogspot.com/2009/10/curried-beef-pot-pie.html
I didn't add salt or bouillon because I had used salted butter instead of unsalted butter in the crust recipe and I didn't want the dish to be too salty and rich. Over time, the juices tended to be absorbed by the vegetables. Next time I would cook the beef for less time before introducing it to the oven and I would also develop a thicker gravy. On top of the filling I threw in a little bit of leftover mashed potatoes with a generous sprinkling of parmesean cheese. Sure, this meal wasn't the most healthy of meals, but it's been just the thing to keep me warm on the bitter cold Halifax winter nights while our little apartment doesn't have heat.