Friday, April 12, 2013

Quinoa Shepherd's Pie

If you're a shepherd's pie traditionalist, you might want to look away.

Or cottage pie traditionalist, depending on what your definition of each type of meat and potato pie is.

This shepherd's pie recipe is a bit different than the norm, thanks to the addition of quinoa. Partly to save money because beef is expensive, and partly for a healthier twist on a traditionally heavy dish.

This one went over really, really well with the family. My man has been working nights over the past few weeks, and aside from missing having someone to watch The Voice with, the boy and I have missed him at the dinner table, too. So I've been trying to make meals that will be equally tasty and hearty when heated up in the wee hours of the morning when he got home. This ended up being perfect, almost too good, because he almost had to fight me for the leftovers.

We'll definitely keep one in the freezer for a fast weeknight meal from now on.

Quinoa Shepherd's Pie
Leanne Bakes

For the filling:
1 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 teaspoon Worchester sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup corn
*you can also add any other veggies as you see fit

For the gravy:
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef or chicken stock

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 or 4 large russet potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 milk or cream
1/2 cup grated cheese (optional)

Let’s start with the potatoes. Peel, wash, and cube each potato. Boil in a pot in salted water until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the meat filling.

In an oiled skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef and season with the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and cayenne, making sure to cook thoroughly to avoid death. If you haven’t cooked the quinoa yet (I always have some leftover to use up!), prepare it now, too, according to package directions.

Drain the liquid from the beef into a measuring cup, then set the meat aside in a bowl while you make the gravy.

Heat a few tablespoons of the beef drippings in the same skillet you used to cook the beef. Add the flour, stirring to make a paste. Stir and cook this paste (the roux) for 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in one cup of beef broth (you can also use water… shhh…) and stir constantly, making sure all the lumps are out. The mixture should begin to thicken pretty quickly. 

Once the gravy thickens slightly, add the frozen vegetables, quinoa, and beef, and stir until heated and well combined.

Mash the potatoes with the butter and milk, and season to taste.

Scoop the beef mixture into an 8x8 casserole dish (you can adjust this size - the recipe is pretty forgiving and is equally delicious when not piled so high). Spread the mashed potatoes on top, and sprinkle on some cheese, if desired.

Bake 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and brown.


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