Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Nothing Left Over: Thanksgiving Leftovers in the Form of Shepherd's Pie

After much time spent with family, friends and of course food, I headed back to campus and the inevitable return to daily life at Denison. With me I brought back leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner and leftover beef sautéed with peas and onions so I could put together a proper shepherd's pie and, eventually, this relatively short blog post.

The two main components already cooked, all that was left to do was layer and brown. Quite literally, put into an ungreased baking dish the cooked beef mixture, and then layer the mashed potatoes. Get this into an oven preheated to 350 °F and bake for about 15 minutes to warm the food. Then, switch the oven to broil to brown the potatoes (an additional 15-20 minutes). Do keep a rather watchful eye; depending on the set up of your oven, as well as the makeup of the potatoes, the potential for overcooking and/or burning the top is there.

After you've removed your (now) shepherd's pie out of the oven and given it a few minutes to cool, the first run of the knife or serving spoon should reveal a beautiful slight crunch to the potatoes and the softer interior. Underneath this layer should be a layer of moist filling, kept moist because of the layer of potatoes.

As you can see from the photo above, I've plated this dish with leftover spiral sliced honeybaked ham that I julienned and cooked with granulated sugar until caramelised. The ham serves as a sweeter compliment and textural balance (similar to the effect given by bacon) to the comfort of the shepherd's pie itself. For more photos of this food prep, click here.

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