Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And lo, there were Hungarian shepherds abiding in the fields, making casseroles in their crocks by night.

So....Rachael Ray has a new show on the Cooking Channel called "Rachael Ray's Week in a Day" where she spends a few hours on a weekend afternoon making five dishes for the coming week. I love the premise, but a whole HOUR of Rach, bless her heart, is a bit much to take. Still, on a recent episode with a comfort food theme, she made an interesting hybrid of Hungarian paprikash and good old shepherd's pie that I had to try out.

Of course, I swapped out some pork chops that I unearthed in the freezer instead of sirloin tips, and I also used some leftover mashed potatoes instead of the parsnip and potato mash that she made, though that sounded very good. Oh, and I cooked the pork mixture all day in the crock pot while I was at work, then assembled the shepherd's pie when I got home. But in the end, I think it turned out to be a nice twist on the traditional casserole that we all grew up eating. And as a bonus, I finished the dish in one of the Rachael Ray ovenware pieces--in my signature purple, no less--that my super-sweet roommate bought for me ages ago, and that I finally busted out of the shipping box!

Hungarian-Style Shepherd's Pie
(adapted from Rachael Ray's Week in a Day)

6 pork chops, deboned and cut into one-inch chunks (or use 2 lbs. sirloin tips)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
3-4 medium carrots, small dice
1 large roasted red pepper (from a jar), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
about 1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/2-3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dill weed

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and brown the meat along with the onions. Add the meat and onions to a crock pot, then add carrots, roasted red pepper, garlic, paprika, marjoram, caraway seeds (if using), tomato paste, beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Cook on low for about six hours until pork is tender.

Add the cooked meat mixture to a large casserole dish. Meanwhile, reheat mashed potatoes, then mix with sour cream and dill weed. Spread on top of meat mixture. Cool the dish completely and store for a make-ahead meal.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Reheat and bake until heated through and potatoes are brown on top, 45 to 60 minutes. If you do not make this dish as a make ahead meal, then brown potatoes under hot broiler on the middle rack of the oven 5 to 7 minutes until golden at edges.

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