Katie’s Shepherd’s Pie

May 19th, 2014

Katie's Shephards Pie 1

Our weather went from 90 degrees to a cool 50 degrees this week.  We lit a fire in the fireplace early one morning.  The cool weather made me hungry for comfort food again.  I have made several versions of shepherd’s pie or in this case, cottage pie since it uses ground beef instead of ground lamb.  But Katie from the What Katie Ate blog calls this recipe shepherd’s pie anyway.  I have to say it is the best version I have ever tried.  Why,… you may ask?

Katie's Shephards Pie 2V

It starts with roasting garlic cloves in the oven to be incorporated into the mashed potato topping.  The aroma begins the anticipation of the meal to come.  It continues with the extra flavor that is added to the ground beef mixture.  Tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, barbecue sauce and freshly grated nutmeg all conspire to give the beef richness as well as a deep red color.  The topping is liberally sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.  It came out of the oven bubbly and golden brown.  We loved it.

Katie's shephards pie 4 good

You will too.  Even if you have to wait for the next cold snap, it is worth adding to your favorites file.

Cottage Fireplace

We won’t be seeing this again for a while.


1 Tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 onion finely diced
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/4 lbs. lean ground free-range beef
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons steak sauce
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked, plus extra sprigs to garnish
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roasted Garlic and Cheesy Mash Topping:
3 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
Sea salt and ground white pepper
5 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling

To make the topping, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the three whole garlic cloves on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until soft.  Remove and allow to cool, then squeeze out the soft flesh and discard the papery skin.

While the garlic is roasting, half-fill a large saucepan with cold water, season with a good pinch of salt, then add the potatoes.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high and cook at a rolling simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and soft in the middle when pierced with a knife.  This is important if you want a really creamy mash – if they are even slightly firm in the middle you’ll never get smooth mash, as there will be tiny lumps dotted throughout.

Drain the potatoes, then tip them back into the pan and break up with a potato masher.  Pass the potato through a potato ricer until completely smooth.  Add the milk, yogurt, parmesan and cooled roasted garlic and mix together well.  Season generously with salt and pepper, then set aside (or, if you’d like a decorative topping, transfer to a large icing bag fitted with a 1/2 inch star-shaped nozzle and set aside until required).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 5-7 minutes.  Add the ground beef and stir well, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.  Cook until the beef is nicely browned, (drain off fat if any accumulates) then add the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, barbecue sauce, nutmeg and thyme leaves and stir everything together.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.  Spoon the mixture into a 6 cup capacity baking dish.

Pipe or spoon the mashed potato over the filling and sprinkle with extra parmesan and pepper.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the potato is golden brown.  Sprinkle over a little more parmesan, if liked, scatter over extra thyme sprigs and serve hot.

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Fettuccine With Shrimp, Cream and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and a Give-Away

January 4th, 2013


I received a new cookbook for Christmas.  To me, that is the best gift under the tree.  I look forward to it every year.  Every year I research the new crop of books available and find the one that appeals to me most.  This year I chose a cookbook that is both visually inspiring and full of recipes that are new to me.

The book is What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies.  Katie is a food and lifestyle photographer and blogger whose blog of the same name has become an internet phenomenon.  She is Irish and lives in Australia.  I have been following her blog for a couple of months and am amazed by her photography.  She has a huge collection of vintage cooking utensils and her photo shoots are all about rustic presentations; not the prettily posed perfect shots.  There are crumbs and sauces dripping everywhere.  The photos in her cookbook are just as stunning and almost life size.  It is worth owning for its artistic merit alone.  But add to that the delicious recipes and you can’t go wrong.

The first recipe I tried was Fettuccine with Shrimp, Cream and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.  The ingredients were simple and in combination made a great weeknight meal.   Because January 2013 marks the 5th Anniversary of my blog, I want to share this lovely cookbook with you.  Please leave a comment and I will select one lucky winner by random generator to receive a copy of What Katie Ate.  Comments are open until Tuesday January 8th.  Thank you for all of your support over the years.



3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 1/2 pounds uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
2 tablespoons shredded basil, plus extra to garnish
1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
pinch of ground white pepper
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup dry vermouth
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
11 ounces fettuccine
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat and saute the garlic until softened but not colored.  Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are opaque.  Remove the shrimp from the skillet and leave to cool, then chop into thirds.

Add the scallion, basil, sun-dried tomato, pepper, chicken broth, vermouth and cream to the skillet, and cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about half.  Stir in the parmesan and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until melted and combined.

Return the shrimp to the sauce to heat through, and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.  Drain well.

To serve, add the pasta to the sauce and toss together with two forks.  Garnish with extra parmesan, basil and a grinding of black pepper, and serve with crusty bread.

Printable recipe


Braised Short Ribs on Garlic Mash with Green Beans and Roasted Tomatoes

December 27th, 2012

In my last post I included the above picture of dishes that I served over the holidays.  Number 1 is Braised Short Ribs on Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Green Beans and Roasted Tomatoes. If you want to impress your guests on New Year’s Eve, you won’t do better than this.  It is pretty to look at and the beef is so tender that all you need is a fork to enjoy it.  I have several boneless short ribs recipe in my repertoire,  but this one is so special that I will make it for birthday parties, Christmas dinners, New Year’s or any other special occasion for which I want to make people feel special.

The presentation is the key.  If you have a wide mouth white soup bowl it would be stunning.  But even served on my black and white dinner plates it looked festive.


The recipe came from Chuck Hughes on The Food Network.  I was intrigued by it because of the unusual ingredients including beets, cinnamon, cocoa powder and brown sugar.  The beets impart a dark color to the sauce and the flavorings give it a hint of sweetness.  I have changed the amount of brown sugar.  It called for 1 cup but that seemed excessive.


I can’t think of a better way to bring in the New Year.  Your friends and family will thank you.  Happy New Year everyone.



2 packages boneless short ribs (about 16 to 18 total) or 8 bone-in short ribs
3 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 beets, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 heads of garlic, cut in half
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
1 star anise (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
Coarse salt
1 cup flour
Canola oil
2 bottles red table wine
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
Handful peppercorns
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, carrots, beets and garlic.  Add the rosemary, thyme, star anise, and cinnamon stick, and set aside.

If using bone-in ribs, trim off the excess outer fat.  Season the ribs well with coarse salt.  Dredge in flour until well coated.

In a (very) large Dutch oven or wide soup pot on high heat, pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the ribs to the hot oil and sear the ribs so they are browned on all sides.  You will have to do this it batches for the boneless ribs.  Remove the ribs and set aside.

In the same pan, transfer all the vegetables from the bowl, and stir to caramelize and pick up all the brown bits.  Add the meat back into the pot.  Pour the wine over top.  Ensure all is covered with the liquid and if not, top up with water.

Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar and peppercorns, and bring to a boil, cover with a lid or foil, and place in the oven until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours.  Remove the ribs to a platter, and strain out the solids to use for something else.

Boil the cooking liquid in a wide shallow pan until it is reduced by half.  It will be richer, more flavorful and thicker.  Add a nub of butter at the end for sheen and flavor.

Serve the short ribs on a mound of Garlic Mashed Potatoes, topped with green beans and roasted cherry tomatoes.



1 heat garlic
1 tablespoon good, fruity olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A sprig or 2 of fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme)
6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, and quartered
1 stick butter
1 cup cream or half and half

Slice the top off a garlic head and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the fresh herbs.  Wrap in a tin foil packet, and roast in the oven for about 1 hour.

Fill a large saucepan with water; add a few good pinches of coarse salt and the potatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until just fork tender.  Do not over cook or the potatoes will be soggy.  Drain off the water, leaving the potatoes in the pot.

Add the butter and cream to the potatoes and mash well.

Remove the garlic from the oven.  Squeeze the garlic cloves into the potatoes, and stir in.  The consistency you want is rough, with some lumps.  Seaon the potatoes with salt, and pepper, if desired.



Stem the beans and place them in boiling water.  Cook until crisp tender.  Plunge the beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color.  Set aside until ready to assemble dish.  Just before serving time, heat a couple of tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.  Add beans and toss to coat.  Cook until just heated through.

Place a pint of cherry tomatoes on a small baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil, coarse salt and pepper.  Place in a 400 degree oven and cook just until skins begin to burst, about 10 minutes.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.