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Shepherd's Pie
(Serves 6-8)

3 Tbsp olive oil
6 large, meaty lamb shanks (ca 9 lbs)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 c dry red wine
1 large head garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
6 sprigs plus 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/4 tsp dried
2 1/2 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 c milk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter plus 1 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1" pieces
1 lb shiitake or oyster mushrooms, stems removed, caps quartered
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp fresh lemon juice or to taste
1/4 c chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 325F. In a large roasting pan set over 2 burners,
heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season lamb shanks generously with salt
and pepper and add them to the pan. Cook over moderate heat,
turning frequently, until well-browned all over, about 10 minutes.
Pour in 1 c red wine and boil for 3 minutes. Add 1 c water and
return to a boil, then add the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs (or
1 tsp dried thyme). Cover pan with foil and bake shanks in oven
for 2 hours, until meat is very tender. Remove from oven and let
cool slightly. Increase oven temperature to 350F.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, cover potatoes with water and bring to
a boil over high heat. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain
well. Return potatoes to pan and shake over high heat to dry them
completely, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the milk and 4
Tbsp butter and mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to
taste and set aside.

In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans
until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Set aside.

In a large nonreactive skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive
oil over high heat. When it begins to smoke, add the mushrooms in
an even layer. Do not stir until the mushrooms start to brown,
about 2 1/2 minutes. Stir gently and cook until browned all over,
about 2 minutes longer. Add the onion and the chopped fresh thyme
or the remaining 1/4 tsp dried) and reduce heat to low. Cover and
cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 10
minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high and cook without stirring
until the onion is browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the remaining 1/2 c red wine to the skillet and boil, scraping
up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until the mixture is
very dry and beginning to brown again, about 3 minutes. Remove
from heat and set aside.

Remove lamb from bones, discarding any gristle and fat; cut meat
into 1-inch pieces. Pour contents of roasting pan into a coarse
sieve set over a bowl. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, press the
cooked garlic through the sieve. Remove any grease that rises to
the surface.

Return the mushroom mixture to moderately high heat. Sprinkle on
the flour and stir until blended. Whisk in the garlic broth and
bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook, stirring
occasionally, until the liquid thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the lamb, reserved green beans, lemon juice and parsley.
Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the lamb mixture into a large baking dish 2-3 inches deep
and refrigerate til firm, about 30 minutes. With your hands, take
cupfuls of the potato mixture and flatten them into 1/2-inch-thick
patties. Press the patties onto the lamb mixture. Smooth the
surface and score decoratively with a fork. Brush with melted
butter.

Bake on the top rack of the oven until hot and bubbly, about 45
minutes. Turn on the broiler and brown the top, rotating the pie,
about 2 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.)

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