We're finally getting some winter here on the Oregon coast with the past 3 days alternating between snow and rain - freezing and otherwise. Perfect in many ways, it's a great excuse to hunker down in the kitchen and cook some comfort food.
Last night's dinner is from Cinda Chavich's book, High Plains, The Joy of Alberta Cuisine and if I were being picky, I'd have to change the name from a "sheperd's" to "cottage" pie because I used ground beef not lamb; however, misnomer aside it is a real winner.
Spiced with curry, cayenne, ginger and turmeric and sweetened with dried cranberries and green apple it is far from ordinary. Add a topping of mashed yukon gold potatoes, yams, parsnip and carrots, all seasoned with more fresh ginger and chopped green onions, and it puts the casserole absolutely over the top in the flavor department.
If you like the taste of curry, I guarantee you'll love it and if you're not sure whether you like the taste of curry, don't deprive yourself of the chance to find out. Try it anyway. It is delicious. Just sayin'.
Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Root Vegetable Mash from JBug’s Kitchen Antics adapted from Cinda Chavich’s High Plains, The Joy of Alberta Cuisine
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 green apple, cored and finely chopped (I left peel on)
1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons mango chutney
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 egg, beaten
Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium high. Mix together curry powder, cayenne, turmeric, salt and pepper. Add to oil and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add chopped onion, ginger and apple and cook until onion is softened. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Return sauté pan to heat and add ground beef. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess oil and add beef to vegetables in bowl. Stir in lemon juice, cranberries, mango chutney, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and bread crumbs. Toss to combine. Cool slightly. Beat egg well and mix into beef and vegetable mixture. Transfer mixture to a large shallow casserole dish.
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato ruby yam, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
2 parsnips, peeled, hard core removed and cubed
1/4 cup butter
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/4 cup half and half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine potatoes, sweet potato, carrots and parsnips in a pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until cooked through – about 15 minutes. Drain well and mash until fairly smooth (slightly chunky is OK). Melt butter in a small sauté pan and cook onions and ginger for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to vegetables along with half and half. Season with salt and pepper and whisk lightly. Place on top of meat in casserole dish and smooth to edges. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serves 4 to 6.