Veal Shepherd’s Pie with Cremini Mushroom Mashed and Caramelized Onion Sauce

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Veal Shepherd’s Pie with Cremini Mushroom Mashed and Caramelized Onion Sauce

Sometimes you just crave comfort food!  This week’s recipe is perfect when you are feeling this way.  Spring is just around the corner so let’s enjoy a Veal Shepherd’s Pie with Cremini Mushroom Mashed and Caramelized Onion Sauce before it gets here. Fire it up!

(Makes about 20 servings)

Ingredients/Veal Shepherd’s Pie
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups diced onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 lbs ground veal
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 lb turnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 lb carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sugar
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated farmhouse cheddar (optional)

Method/Veal Shepherd’s Pie
In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is golden, 10–
12 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute more. Add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and
cook until it loses its red color, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more. Add the crushed tomatoes and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and spoon off any excess fat. Stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Put the turnips and carrots in a single layer in a skillet just large enough to hold them. Add enough water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the vegetables; add 2 tsp unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover the vegetables with a round of parchment paper just large enough to fit the inside of the pan, or with a lid slightly ajar. Simmer the vegetables until tender, 8–10 minutes. Remove the cover and raise the heat to high. Toss the vegetables frequently in the pan, as the liquid evaporates to a shiny smooth glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add to meat mixture. Set aside.

Ingredients/Cremini Mushroom Mashed
1/2 lb button or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

Method/Cremini Mushroom Mashed
Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until golden, about 5 minutes. Season
with salt and pepper, then set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, 1 tsp salt and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat  to maintain a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Shake the pan over medium heat for about a minute to dry the potatoes, then transfer the potatoes to a food mill, ricer or bowl. Put the milk and butter in the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the milk is hot and the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat. Mash the potatoes through the food mill or ricer, or by hand, into the pan. Stir to combine with the milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg, if desired. Add in sautéed mushrooms. Set aside.

Ingredients/Caramelized Onion Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock

Method/Caramelized Onion Sauce
Put the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté
for 10–12 minutes, or until caramelized. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and, using a hand-held blender, puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve and cool completely. Taste; season if necessary.

Assembly
Scoop the meat and vegetable mixture into service cups or glasses. Add onion sauce, and then pipe the mashed potatoes on top.

Chef Notes
Keep the piping bag filled with hot mashed potatoes wrapped in a towel, to keep from burning your hands.

Variations
Upscale the hors d’oeuvre by using ground seafood—shrimp, scallops or lobster—and then topping with wasabi mashed potatoes.

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