Beer may be most associated with St. Patrick’s Day. But on the food front, there are a few hearty, traditional Irish dishes that can be enjoyed during celebrations on March 17.
Shepherd’s pie is one dish in particular that is perfect for potlucks or parties, if you’re hosting or attending any this weekend.
Ali Rosen, a New York food writer and host of the show “Potluck with Ali,” includes a shepherd’s pie in “Bring It!” (out March 13, Running Press, $25).
Her debut cookbook features more than 100 recipes, from appetizers to mains to desserts, that are ideal for potlucks and entertaining.
Shepherd’s pie, traditionally made with lamb and topped with mashed potatoes, fits the bill for a few reasons.
“Unlike the more familiar pot pie, shepherd’s pie has mashed potatoes on top, giving it a fluffy texture without the potential pitfalls of a fussy pastry crust,” Rosen writes. “Because of the forgiving nature of the ingredients it also makes it the perfect totable dish: Refrigerate or freeze it and then just pop it back into the oven to reheat. Whenever you need to bring comfort without a lot of fuss, this is the go-to recipe.”
It can easily be baked in the vessel you plan to serve it in, like a cast-iron pot, too.
Makes 4-6 servings
For the topping
1 1⁄2 lb. russet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. salt
For the filling
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 chopped large yellow onion
1 cup peeled and chopped carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ground lamb
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3⁄4 cup peas (fresh or frozen work fine)
1⁄2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen work fine)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Put the potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are completely tender. Drain the potatoes and then add them back into the empty pot with the butter, milk, egg yolk, and salt. Mash the potatoes until everything has combined but before it gets too smooth. It shouldn’t be as creamy as your typical mashed potatoes: the thickness and lumpy texture helps the pie brown nicely on top. Set the potatoes aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, for the filling, heat a large skillet or pot on medium heat and add the butter. (If you like to serve in vessels that you cook in, such as a cast-iron pot, you can use that in this step and just use it for baking.) Once the butter has melted, add the onion and carrot and cook them until they start to brown slightly, approximately 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and lamb and allow it to brown another 3 to 4 minutes without stirring too much. Add the flour, broth, Worcestershire sauce, cloves, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, until the filling is thick.
Turn the heat off and stir in the peas, corn, parsley, and rosemary. Taste to see if it needs more salt. Place the mixture in a baking dish and then spoon the mashed potatoes on top, spreading evenly.
Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until you see the mashed potatoes start to brown on top. If your oven doesn’t tend to brown things evenly, you can turn the broiler on for the last minute to get a golden top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
How to bring it
This recipe does fine in the refrigerator or even the freezer. Make sure you let it all cool to room temperature before covering (the trapped steam will keep cooking the dish). Cover tightly and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to two months. To reheat, let the dish defrost in the fridge if frozen, and then cook for 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. You can also cook straight from frozen if you prefer, but it will change the texture a little bit.
Reprinted with permission from “Bring It!” © 2018 by Ali Rosen, Running Press