or comfort food by the spoonful, your inner Irish would be proud
The leaves are falling, the winds have turned, the chill is in the air - oh how I love Fall! And then WHAM! out of nowhere, the hot weather comes brazenly back in just in time to disrupt a lovely weekend of orchards, farmers markets, and pure Autumn joy. But we didn't let that stop us, oh no we are far too stubborn for that, we embraced comfort food season full force with a weekend full of canning (apples, jelly, pickles, tomato sauce), a hearty Sicilian pasta dinner, and bowlfuls of heartwarming shepherds pie.
Satisfying both ends of the spectrum of my heritage (Sicilian and Irish) in one weekend is pretty fantastic in itself, but add to that the ongoing reward of canned tomato sauce and several eagerly anticipated lunches of leftover shepherds pie and you have a recipe for satisfaction in your stomach, heart, and soul. Now with that in your corner, how could the week possibly go wrong? Well, that's another discussion entirely, but for now let's savor the moment shall we? I can smell it now..
It looks like a lot, but it's not that bad really.. most of this you'll probably have in your pantry waiting for you:
Ground Beef - 1 lb
Carrots - ½ cup, diced
Celery - ½ cup, diced
Onions - 3 tbsp, dried minced
Butter - 4 tbsp
Flour - 4 tbsp
Garlic - 2 tbsp minced
Red Wine - ¼ cup
Beef stock - 2 cups
Worcestershire sauce - 1 tsp
House spice blend
Paprika - to season the top
Nutmeg - a dash
Kosher salt - 1 tsp
Pre-made or left over mashed potatoes
Preheat oven to 350°
1. Brown the ground beef in a large pan, if it is very lean or if you are using ground turkey you may need to add a bit of oil. Toss in the carrots, celery, garlic, and onions and continue to cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent the browning from getting out of hand.
2. Next stir in the Worcestershire sauce, spice blend, salt, and nutmeg. The aromas should really be filling the kitchen right about now. Add butter and as it melts mix in the flour, stirring to combine thoroughly, and cook for 2 minutes. It will look really thick at this point, trust me that's a good thing, just be cautious to not let it burn.
3. Pour in the beef stock and red wine. Stir to combine with the existing mixture so it looks consistent throughout and simmer, reducing until the mixture thickens again. It will not be quite as sticky as it was with just the butter and flour, but it should cling momentarily to the the pan when pushed to the side.
4. Pour into a 9x11 casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes, this works best if they are at least room temperature, and season lightly with paprika.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. When done allow to set for 3-5 minutes before serving to allow it to firm up a bit, it helps the meat mixture to better bond with the potatoes.
Wait for it.. wait for it... ok, dig in! I highly recommend serving with bread and butter or fresh rolls to scoop up the sauce once the bowl is empty, and trust me - it will be empty. It's a favorite of my husband's whenever cold weather hits, and a truer nod to our Irish heritage than my beloved corned beef and cabbage ever will be, I hope that you welcome it into your kitchen with the same loving embrace as we do in ours. With wishes of warmth and happy eating, enjoy!