Originally Posted by cataraftgirl
You need to post your recipe for the shepherds pie & a link to that book!
There are plenty of other dutch oven cookbooks out there too.
For the Shepherd's Pie...its actually relatively simple but can take a little while to make because it has to cook down. Here is how I do it...
First, you'll need the following:
- Ground Lamb (or Beef in a pinch or if you want to go cheaper). I've found that 2 pounds feeds 5 or 6 hungry people. I made this for a 14 person trip on the Yampa and I think I used 7 pounds and everyone seemed satisfied and there was no leftovers.
- 1 Onion and 3-4 carrots for every 2 pounds of meat.
- A couple cups of chicken stock...mostly for flavor but also to add a small amount of sauce and silkyness. You can find small containers of it in the soup isle. You can use broth too, but I prefer stock because it has more gelatin and thickens better.
- Fresh Garlic (4 cloves per pound), Rosemary and Thyme (either fresh or dried works)
- Your favorite red wine that you don't mind cooking with. I like a cheap shiraz, but any red wine works really. You don't need anything fancy, but don't go too cheap either. I've also made this with a good dark beer as well and it was great. I'm guessing a good hard cider would work too. Its to help deglaze(pull the flavor bits that stick to the pot as you are cooking) a bit and adds a lot of flavor.
- Salt and Pepper to season (higher quality the better).
- The best Mashed Potatoes you can manage. When I make it at home I do fresh potatoes and liberal amounts of butter and milk and garlic and maybe some parmesan or cheddar cheese. On river trips I usually do "spuds" i.e. freeze dried and it works pretty well. Idahoan makes several flavors that work well, but I usually get the garlic parmesan ones.
Prep for this is either grate or finely chop the carrots and onions. I use a food processor and just chop it up in there till they are pea sized (speaking of....peas go well in this too though I haven't made it with them yet...next time). The idea is that you don't want chunks of veggies. The idea is that they will break down a bit and become part of the "mince" as the British call it. Garlic will want to be minced as well.
To cook....brown the lamb in a large pot big enough to hold the meat, veggies, stock and wine/beer. If you are making fresh mashed potatoes you can boil the potatoes now too. Once the lamb is browned, add the veggies Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme and keep it on medium till the onions are translucent (3-5 minutes) and then add the chicken stock and wine/beer . Cover and Reduce till no liquid pools up on the bottom of the pan, stirring occasionally.
If you are making this all fresh at camp, I'd say add less stock and wine to shorten cooking time. When I made the big batch, it took an hour to reduce enough for my liking. I've had some pretty horrible version of shepherd's pie, and the number one sin is making it to soupy. You don't want it to be dry, but you don't want it to have too much liquid either.
Make your mashed potatoes and have them ready. Again, you don't want them to be dry, but not super wet either. You want them to be light and fluffy too, so butter is good but not too much.
Once the mince is reduced, add salt and pepper and additional rosemary and thyme (if needed) to season. Make sure the DO is well oiled (but not dripping with it) and dump the mince into it and spread it evenly. You can pack it down a little bit, but not too much. Lightly and evenly place the mashed potatoes on top of the mince. Try not to spread it as much as plop it on so it remains fluffy. You add a sprinkling of parmesan or cheddar or whatever your favorite cheese is for extra crispyness.
As far as coals for the DO, I know there are formula's for coals to equivalent oven temperatures, but I usually just toss them under the DO with about half an inch seperating them underneath the DO and pretty much cover the whole DO on top. Since everything is already cooked, you are just looking to heat it up from the bottom, but you want a bit more heat on top so it crisps the top of the mashed potatoes. When I do it at home, I'll cook it till it bubbles a bit at 350 covered in foil and then take the foil off and broil it till the mashed potatoes are golden brown on top.
From there, serve and enjoy. Some green veggies go well with it or a nice salad. I'll usually cut up some bread as well.
I know that was a bit long winded, but I promise its easier then I am probably making it seem. I found the recipe after seeing Gordon Ramsay make it on one of his TV shows and his official recipe is on the internet.
Here is the video. He has a few more ingredients that I don't use because I don't find them to make a big difference, but its basically how I make it....