Sunday, April 19, 2009

Root Vegetable Shepherd's Pie

Last Saturday, I experienced my first weekend without school stress! In order to celebrate this momentous occasion, I decided to have some fun in the kitchen. After seeing a post on another blog and knowing I had some ground beef in the freezer, I thought shepherd's pie was worth a try. But I couldn't just do the normal, standard recipe, now could I? Besides, I really just don't like celery and carrots. And thus my solution: create my very own shepherd's pie remix based on root vegetables!

I started with parsnips, turnip, and brown (crimini) mushrooms. I highly recommend brown mushroom, so much more flavor!

Here they are being caramelized (except the mushrooms)...ah so fragrant!

Now I added the mushrooms and some herbs

Peter helped with the beef...I'm not a big fan of touching or getting near raw meat. What a silly face. :)

Here the veggies, beef, and gravy are getting acquainted.

Top it with mashed, seasoned potatoes, bake, and:

Voila! Cauliflower! Just kidding. More like a giant delicious potato topping!

So what was the result of my experiment? Good, but not amazing. But I think the lack of amazingness is easily remedied. First, cut the amount of parsnip in half, second, use more mushrooms, and third, season more heavily. I've adjusted the recipe accordingly. I am proud to say, however, that the potato topping came out quite nicely. :) One can also add more flavor by topping it with shredded cheese. And I suppose if you do like celery but want to stick with the root theme, you could try some celery root.

Let me know if you try it!


1 parsnip, cleaned and diced (no need to peel if scrubbed well)

1 turnip, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

5 tbl butter

dried thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste (I sprinkle and smell)

1 lb ground beef

3-4 splashes Worcestershire sauce

3 tbl flour

1 3/4 cup beef broth (or less for a thicker gravy)

1 cup frozen peas

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook and caramelize parsnip, turnip, and onion in butter (about 10 min). Add mushrooms and seasonings, stir together for about 30 seconds, then turn off heat.

3. In another skillet, cook the beef; if there is a lot of fat leftover, partially drain. Do not drain completely. Add Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. While at medium heat, add the flour, stirring contantly, and cook a couple of minutes. Add peas and slowly pour in broth and bring to a simmer, stirring occaisionally. Simmer until thickened.

4. Combine veggie and meat mixture in a 2 quart casserole dish. Add mashed potato mixture (recipe below). Place on a baking sheet in case of spills and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until mashed potatoes nice and puffy with golden tips.

For the mashed potatoes:

Boil in salted water until fork tender 5-6 red potatoes, peeled and chopped. Drain, then transfer to a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle until smooth. Add 2 tbl cream, 2 tbl milk, 2 tbl butter, 1 egg, and salt and pepper. Cream together. Adjust liquid if necessary.

Yield: 6 servings

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