10 March, 2013

Donna Hay loves lamb

A new post!  My sister visited this weekend and we wanted to make a few freezer meals.  Donna Hay's No time to cook has plenty of the foodie's stylized photos of presumably irresistible dishes, and one section called "some now some later."  We landed on a two page spread that had her versions of shepard's pie, veal osso bucco, and a coriander chicken curry.  Okay. Definitely won't be making the second, I recognize the first from university cafeteria days, and will undoubtedly love the third.

I started with the pies.  How is it not shepard's pie? There is no mashed potato on top but thin slices that crisp up nicely in the oven. Donna called for lamb but I don't like the taste so I opted for grass-fed beef.  (Donna obviously loves lamb but not in the way I love lamb...).  In my humble opinion this dish could have used a 30/70 meat/vegetable split and been just as tasty.

Shepard's Pie is a classic, but I can't help think these pies won't be remade by me in the future... I'm reading a great book about a chimpanzee sanctuary that is pulling on my flora and fauna heart strings and this meat dish would never be on their menu.  Should it be on mine? I like certain kinds of meat but sometimes it doesn't feel right for me to eat meat.  Does this hesitation ever happen to you?

For the record, Nick really liked this dish and you might too.

crispy potato-topped lamb pies 
by Donna Hay

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
750 g lamb mince (beef works too) - possibly reduce to 500g and add more vegetables
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tbsp bouquet garni
2 tbsps Dijon mustard
2 tbsps honey
2 parsnips, diced (or 1 parsnip, 2 small carrots) - I also added 2 celery stalks
1 cup peas - this could easily be 2 cups
500 g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
a bit of melted butter for brushing

Preheat oven to 375. In a large non-stick skillet cook the onion in oil for 4 minutes.  Add the meat and cook, stirring until browned.  Add stock, herbs, mustard, honey and diced vegetables (save peas for later).  Simmer until liquid reduces and vegetables become tender - about 20 minutes.  (Season with salt and pepper if desired. I also noticed there was too much grease - you may need to skim off the top.)

Stir in peas and spoon the mixture into 6 one cup tinfoil pie plates.  Place potato slices on top and brush with butter.  Bake the pies for 35-40 minutes.  These can be in the freezer for up to 3 months.