Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shepard's Pie (for the vegetarians)

Seems like an appropriate dish on this rainy Saint Patrick's Day.  This is a variation on a couple recipes: winter root vegetable stew and garlic smashed potatoes. I was lucky today and hit the Mercato early enough to miss the rain and brought home lovely ingredients from Schaner Farm, Suzie's Farm, JR Organics Farm & Spring Hill.

For Mashed Potato Topping:
4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peels left on, well scrubbed, cut into 1” pieces
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until soft, about 15 minutes. After draining away the water (save potato water for stock), add butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mash with a potato masher, ricer, or whip gently with an electric mixer.  Set aside...

2 tablespoons butter
¼ pound fresh mushrooms, quartered (I like cremini)
2 cups (about ½ pound) leeks, julienned
1 cup celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup parsnips, chopped
1 cup Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 cup (or more as needed) vegetable stock
1 tsp fresh parsley, stemmed & minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, stemmed & minced
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Prep the veggies and make your stock.

In a deep, wide, oven safe skillet, melt butter on high, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they give up their liquid and start to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the leeks, celery, carrots, garlic and thyme, and cook until the leeks soften, stirring frequently.  Add the parsnips, Brussels sprouts and stock and season with a bit of salt.  Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and season with pepper.  Cover with mashed potatoes and bake at 375º until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes (switch over to broil towards the end for browning).  Or for a prettier presentation, before topping, transfer the veggies into individual ramekins, then top with potatoes and bake.

Serves 6

And if you find the flavor needs a little zing, it is surprisingly awesome served with homemade bbq sauce. 

Use fennel instead of celery.
Substitute or add in other vegetables as the seasons change: peas, turnips, squash, corn...

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