Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teamwork Yields a Succulent, Savory Midweek Meal

It's getting to be end-of-the-semester/end-of-the-year crunch time at school, and I don't want to fall into the bad habit of just picking up takeout on the way home from work. So for dinner tonight, I enlisted my roommate's help to cobble together some sort of shepherd's pie for dinner. While I was still at work, I had her make the topping--a carrot and potato mash with buttermilk, ricotta (goat cheese would have been even better!), and a touch of garlic. Then when I got home,  I fashioned a base of ground beef and spicy pork with veggies (a mix of asparagus, sugar snaps, red peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash that I unearthed from the freezer) in a savory gravy. I think it turned out delicious and took care of the cooking for two nights! YAY!

Shepherd's Pie with Carrot-Potato-Goat Cheese Mash
(Source: adapted from A Cozy Kitchen)

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
4 oz. goat cheese (or any soft cheese you have on hand, like ricotta, farmer's or cream cheese)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
splash of buttermilk, to desired consistency
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt, to taste

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage (hot or mild, as you prefer)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb. asparagus stir fry mix (frozen), or cut veggies of your choice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
splash of red wine (a tablespoon or two)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth

1. Peel and cut the potatoes and carrots. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water and a good pinch of salt. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 15 to 17 minutes. Drain the carrots and potatoes in a colander and then return to the warm saucepan. Mash the carrots and potatoes, then add the butter, milk, goat cheese and mash until smooth. Add the granulated garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. In a large saute pan, brown the ground beef and sausage with the onions. In the last couple of minutes before the meat is fully browned, add the minced garlic and continue to cook. Drain the excess fat. Add the frozen veggies and cook for another five minutes or so until tender enough to suit you. Stir in the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and pepper. Sprinkle the meat and vegestable mixture with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for about another minute. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for another five minutes or so, or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
3. Spread the meat and vegetable mixture evenly in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with the carrot-potato-goat cheese mash, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling u,p and then smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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