What does Sheppard’s pie bring to mind?
Country? Rural? Down-home?
I think Sheppard’s pie describes my weekend perfectly.
I went to a rodeo in Vanderhoof, BC to watch my friend ride a bull. I didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into when I agreed to go. I used to go to rodeos all the time (I grew up in 100 Mile House, BC) but apparently I forgot just how stressful it can be watching someone you know ride an angry bucking bull!
You have to stay on the bucking bull for eight seconds, which doesn’t seem like long until you realize how massive and aggressive these animals are: they weigh between 1,100-2,200 lbs! National Geographic called it the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.
These crazy cowboys pay expensive entry fees to ride these things, and then they make you wait in anticipation for hours until the very end of the rodeo to do it! At least we all got to go to the barn dance when it was over.
Anyway, my point, in a very round about way, is that I had a country themed weekend and it inspired me to make a country themed recipe!
Sheppard’s pie has many variations and goes by many names including cottage pie, sheppardless pie (vegetarian version), cumberland pie (made with a layer of breadcrumbs on top), St Stephen Day’s pie (made with turkey or ham) and the French Canadian version pâté chinois (French for “Chinese pie”) often made with ketchup mixed in.
Considering there is so many variations of this recipe I decided I deserve to have my own version — Melissa Pie! It suits me perfectly: it’s colorful, healthy, fun, and a little sneaky!
- 500g extra-lean ground meat (I used moose)
- 1.5 cups canned green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 cups finely chopped onion
- 1.5 cups finely chopped carrot
- 1.5 cups chopped celery
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ - ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2¼ cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1.5 cups canned or thawed frozen corn, drained
- 1 cup peas
- 4.5-5 cups mashed yam and cauliflower mix(about 2-3 medium sweet potatoes and half a large head of cauliflower)
- 3 cloves garlic, roasted
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- To prepare mashed topping steam or roast chopped yams (with skin) and cauliflower until tender (this goes quick in the microwave if you want to speed things up). Then process them in a food processor with the roasted garlic, a splash or two of milk, a bit of butter, salt and pepper (to taste) until the desired consistency, leave a little chunky if you like
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook meat, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, for about 8 minutes or until no longer pink. You can add a few crushed red pepper flakes if you like it a little spicy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl, mix in the lentils and set aside. Drain off all but about 2-3 tsp fat from the pan (if you use moose there will be no fat in the pan)
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and saute for 5 min. Add carrot, celery, pepper and nutmeg to the skillet and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes more or until vegetables are softened. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth and bring to a boil; boil, stirring, until thickened. Return beef, lentil mixture and accumulated juices to the pan and stir to coat
- Pour beef mixture into a 9*13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle corn and peas evenly over top. Spread yam and cauliflower mash evenly over corn and peas
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out hot (if you really want you can also top this dish with some shredded cheese when it comes out of the oven)