|Shepherd's pie. (CRAIG GLOVER/QMI AGENCY)
We all have our favourite comfort foods. But seldom are they more welcome than in the midst of winter with its cold temperatures and short days.
In our home, Shepherd’s Pie is arguably one of the top five. A savoury mixture of lean ground beef and vegetables covered in a mashed potato topping is the ultimate winter fare.
My recipe below incorporates celery root and cheese with the potatoes for a slightly richer flavour.
Celery root, or celeriac, is a wonderful root vegetable that is ideal as a mash, a soup or, when raw, makes a delicious salad.
This dish can be assembled a day ahead and popped into the oven for a particularly easy weekend meal.
Shepherd's Pie with Celery Root and Potato Topping
1 lb. (500 g) baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 lb. (500 g) celery root, peeled trimmed and cut into ˝ inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 tbsp. (15 ml) vegetable oil
1 cooking onion, peeled and diced
4 carrots peeled and diced
4 ribs of celery trimmed and diced
1 tsp. (5 ml) chopped fresh thyme
2 lbs. (1 kg) lean ground beef
3 tbsp. (45 ml) flour
1 small tin of tomato paste
1 tsp. ( 5 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 cup (250 ml) of beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup (250 ml) of milk
1-1/2 c. (375 ml) grated old cheddar or Gruyere cheese
1. Place potatoes and celery root in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender. (About 15 minutes) Drain and return to pot. Cover. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the carrots, celery and thyme. Cook stirring frequently for about 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink.
4. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Preheat oven to 400F. (200C)
6. Add the milk and half of the cheese to the potato celery root mixture and mash until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
7. Spoon the beef mixture into a 8 x 13 ovenproof baking dish.
8. Spread the potato/celery root mixture over top. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
9. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling around the edges. (For a more golden topping, put the broiler on during the last few minutes of baking).
10. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.