Our Daring Cooks’ December 2012 Hostess is Andy of Today’s the Day and Today’s the Day I Cook! Andy is sharing with us a traditional French Canadian classic the Paté Chinois, also known as Shepherd’s pie for many of us, and if one dish says comfort food.. this one is it!
I have made Shepherd's Pie a few times before, and usually it involves just throwing some random leftovers together, topping it with mashed potatoes and calling it good. So I knew I needed to actually give this an honest shot. You know, with a recipe. I found an awesome recipe from Food and Wine that actually uses leftovers (WIN!), so I got two meals out of one, and both meals were superbly excellent. The first night was Red Wine Braised Roast with Glazed Root Vegetables. Only, I realized the only bottle of red wine I had in the house was a really nice one, and, you know, since I wanted to drink it, I didn't want to use the whole bottle in dinner. So I made up my own "wine substitute". You might think that throwing beef stock, some dry vermouth, a few splashes of Marsala Sherry and a splash of coke into a pot and letting it simmer for 20 minutes sounds extremely crazy, and you wouldn't be wrong. But it totally worked. While I wouldn't want to actually drink a glass of it, it made an excellent braising liquid!
I have realized that I am a huge fan of parsnips. Madly in love with them. I want to use them in everything. So of course I had to put a ton both in and on top of this pie. Both of these dishes turned out super delicious. I love them both equally, and think this would be an awesome two night meal to serve when you have company over.
You know how in all the magazines and "big blogs" you see amazingly beautiful pictures of Shepherd's Pie with the mashed potatoes artfully piped on top and broiled to a golden perfection? And you think, that can't be too hard, I just don't really feel like getting out a bag and tip and messing with it? Me, too. So I decided, since I'd taken the time to make everything else, I would go ahead and pipe on my mashed potatoes. Only I forgot about one thing. Freshly made mashed potatoes and parsnips are HOT. Like, completely scald your hand while you hold the bag hot. So hot that the piping bag stretches and the tip falls out, causing molten lava mashed parsnips to smear themselves all over your already burnt hands.
Red Wine Brasato (slightly adapted from Bon Appetite, February 2007)
Yields: 4 servings (if you include another side like a salad or mashed potatoes) plus leftovers for night 2
1 750 ml bottle hearty red wine (such as Zinfandel, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon)
3 TBSP olive oil
4 pound beef pot roast
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 large celery stock, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 heaping spoonful of tomato paste (save the remainder for the next night)
14 ounces beef broth
2 tsp dried sage
2 large sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp pepper
Adjust the oven rack to the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 300F.
In a large saucepan, simmer the wine over medium heat for about 30 minutes, until reduced to about 1 cup.
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
Using paper towels, pat the roast dry on all sides.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then lightly dredge all sides with flour.
Place the roast in the dutch oven and brown on all sides.
Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
Add the broth, and bring to a boil.
Add the sage, parsley, and bay leaf.
Return the roast to the dutch oven, along with any juices on the plate.
Pour the reduced wine over top and cover.
Braise in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Turn the roast over and braise for another 1 hour 15 minutes.
Transfer the roasts to a cutting board, tent with foil.
Strain the braising liquid into bowl.
Glazed Root Vegetables
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
2-3 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2-3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried sage
2 TBSP chopped parsley
Melt the butter in a large skillet over high heat.
Add the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Sautee about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to brown in spots.
Add 1 cup of the braising liquid from the pot roast.
Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender.
Uncover, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Stir in the sugar, sage, and parsley, and cook until the sauce is reduced to a glaze.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the roast sliced, with vegetables, and braising liquid.
Remember to save some for the Shepherd's Pie! :)
Night Two: Shepherd's Pie (slightly adapted from Food and Wine, February 2007)
Yields: 6 servings
2 TBSP butter
1 cup sliced shallots or chopped yellow onion
2 TBSP flour
3 TBSP red wine (or Marsala Sherry)
1 cup of the braising liquid reserved from night 1
2 cups chopped beef, reserved from night 1
1 1/2 cups chopped glazed vegetables, reserved from night 1
1 spoonful of tomato pasta, reserved from night 1
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 TBSP butter, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Sautee the shallots about 6 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
Add the flour and stir 1 minute.
Add the wine, the braising liquid, and the tomato pasta, and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and boil, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the beef and vegetables.
Keep warm until ready to use.
In a medium pan of water, boil the parsnips and potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes.
Drain and return to saucepan.
Add the butter and cream and mash until smooth.
Stir in 1/3 cup of the Gruyere or Swiss cheese.
Transfer the meat/vegetable mixture to a 8x8 baking dish.
Top with the remaining 2/3 cup cheese.
Spread the potato/parsnip mixture on top.
Bake until bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.