Happy belated St Patrick’s Day folks. This week’s ingredient idea came from my beer loving husband David. He was in the mood for some traditional Irish fare and I wanted to make something that would yield leftovers.
As you likely know, Guinness is a dry Irish stout. It gets its distinctive dark color from roasted malted barley and its thick foamy head from an infusion of nitrogen. Guinness is brewed in approximately 50 countries and sold in nearly 100. However, all Guinness sold in the UK, Ireland, and North America is brewed at the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin. According to the Guinness website, as of June 2004, Great Britain, Ireland, Nigeria, US, and Cameroon were the top Guinness consuming countries.
I based my shepherd's pie off of a recipe developed by Gordon Ramsey.
Guinness Shepherd's Pie
2 lbs ground beef
2 medium onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
2 garlic cloves
1 15oz can plum tomatoes
1 12oz bottle of Guinness
5 tbp Worcestershire sauce
1 and 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 lbs Russet potatoes
2 tbp butter
3/4 cup Cheddar cheese – I used Dubliner, it was featured at Trader Joe’s over the weekend.
1 large egg yolk
2 tbp olive oil
5-6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
Begin by peeling and chopping the potatoes, slicing the mushrooms, dicing the onions, carrots, and garlic, and pureeing the tomatoes with an immersion blender. If you don't have any kind of blender or food processor, buy canned tomatoes. I couldn't find canned pureed tomatoes at Whole Foods but I am sure diced tomatoes would be a good substitute.
Next, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot (medium high heat). Add the ground beef, season liberally with salt and pepper, cook till brown, 4 to 5 minutes. When browned, drain the fat by emptying the contents of pot into a colander.
Return the empty pot to the stove, heat another tablespoon of olive oil, and cook the onions and carrots for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme leaves and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes (medium heat). Return the ground beef to the pot and add the tomatoes, stirring continuously for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Guinness and Worcestershire sauce and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes. When reduced by half, add the chicken broth and peas, and increase heat to medium high. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
After adding the Guinness to the meat, bring a large pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt, and cook the potatoes until they are tender. When tender, drain potatoes and add a tablespoon of butter to the pot. Return potatoes to the pot and mash. When fully mashed, mix in the remaining butter, 1/4 cup of cheese, and egg yolk. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Score the mashed potatoes with fork and cover the potatoes with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.
This recipe was not overly time consuming for the amount of food it produced. It is a great meal for a cold and dreary day. That being said, I felt the dish lacked flavor. To be honest, I find most traditional Irish pub fare to be bland, corned beef with mustard being the exception. To jazz up my bowl of pie, I added some Frank’s Red Hot sauce. It added some much needed pizzazz. Overall Grade: B-.