Marcey Brownstein is the proprietor of Marcey Brownstein Catering serving the Hudson Valley, Catskills, NYC, the Tri-State area and beyond since 2001. She moved to the Catskills full-time in 2012, settling in Woodland Valley, one of the the most picturesque and historical valleys in the Catskills. Her favorite winter recipe is Shepherd’s Pie, a rib-sticking favorite.
Marcey’s Shepherd’s Pie
Most people have all of the ingredients necessary on hand at all times if they have a stocked freezer and pantry. I also very often use left over meat for this – really any type. It can be ground meat or poultry, even meat or poultry that has already been cooked. As long as there is about a pound to a pound-and-a-half of meat off the bone, this receipt will work.
The beauty of this recipe is that you really can use any type of meat and any left over veg you have lying around. Vegetarians could even do mushrooms instead of meat and leave out the cream and butter from the potatoes and it would still be delicious. I often add fruit to the meat mixture – cranberries or an apple, which adds a nice sweetness.
1-1.5 lbs meat (raw ground beef, lamb, chicken or turkey OR raw beef, lamb, poultry (diced) OR cooked beef, lamb, poultry (diced)
2 lbs large potatoes, peeled (I use Yukon Gold because that’s what the hubs grows but any type are fine)
2 large onions, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
1-2 cups of any left over vegetables you may have, minced or raw vegetables you may have (like turnip, beet, celery root, really anything)
3 Tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup wine (any type) or dry vermouth
1 cup stock or water
1/2 cup half and half
2 Tbs. butter
Seasonings (whatever you like), salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Boil potatoes until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, brown the raw or cooked meat. Add a glug of olive oil and add the diced onion. When softened, add garlic, carrots and celery and any other vegetables you are using. Sauté it all. Once browned, move vegetables to the sides of the pan and add a glug of olive oil to the center of the pan. Add tomato paste and “fry” for about one minute until fragrant. Mix in with the vegetables and meat. Turn up to high and add wine to deglaze pan scraping the brown bits off the bottom and sides. Add seasonings, then add the stock or water and cook down until it all comes together nicely and liquid has been mostly evaporated.
Make mashed potatoes by adding the half and half, butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mash using any hand mashing tool you like or emulsion blender.
Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the meat/vegetable mixture. Using the tines of a fork, create some texture on the top. Place in preheated oven and then broil for a few minutes until top is nice and brown.