SHEPHERDS PIE ~ ITALIAN STYLE
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small sweet mini red peppers
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped (I have also used a shallot or a shallot and part of a red onion)
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons dry mustard
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal size pieces
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 375˚.
- Chop the carrot, celery and onion into like size pieces.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Combine the garlic, bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion in the oil and cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
- Push the vegetables to the perimeter of the pan and add the lamb.
- Increase the heat to high and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned all over.
- Sprinkle with the mustard, 1 teaspoon of the salt and some pepper, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the tomato paste, fennel seeds and tomato puree and stirring again to blend.
- Cook for 1 minute more. Turn off the heat and stir in the mint and sage.
- Remove the bay leaf.
- Add the potatoes to a saucepan and cover by 2 inches of salted water.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until a knife releases easily from the potatoes when pierced in the center, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the potatoes.
- In the same pot, combine the milk, butter, and 1/3 cup of the cooking water and stir together over high heat. Bring to a boil.
- Work the potatoes through a ricer, then slowly drizzle the hot liquid over the potatoes and stir until light and fluffy.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon the lamb mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch deep-dish pie plate, spreading it evenly over the bottom.
- Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top, covering completely. Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to create a swirled pattern in the potatoes.
- Bake until the topping turns golden, about 30 minutes.