You will be hard-pressed to find a better winter’s meal than Shepherd’s Pie. Traditionally made with ground lamb, Foxhollow’s grassfed goodness anchors this dish, giving us a twist on the original and a new and creative use for the number one requested item at Foxhollow Farm. The ideal supper for any Anglophile, this English pie is chock-full of onions, carrots, kale and bright peas. Rich aromatics bring everything alive thanks to the freshly minced garlic, smokey ground cumin and spicy red pepper flakes. Red wine and beef stock reduce until the meat is thickened and decadent, ready to bubble away in the oven while cloaked with a thick coat of creamy mashed potatoes. With the farm store closed for the winter season do not fret. Simply swing by the Louisville Winter Farmer’s Market, located on the edge of NuLu at Fresh Start Growers’ Supply. Foxhollow’s booth is there every week, stocked with a variety of cuts of their grass-fed beef. You are also likely to find the required potatoes, carrots and kale while you’re there, along with a plethora of locally crafted provisions. The market is open weekly from 10:00 – 12:30. Who says you can’t buy fresh, local food during the winter? I hope to run into you, my foodie-friends, at the market this season and I look forward to hearing about your cozy nights at home, tucking into your very own Foxhollow Farm Shepherd’s Pie.
I elected to use Foxhollow’s ground sirloin for this recipe. As Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with ground lamb, which is typically lean, the sirloin was a perfect swap with a 95/5 blend, meaning it is only 5% fat, 95% lean meat. The opposite end of the spectrum is the ground beef. With an 80/20 blend, it has significantly more fat. Then you have their ground chuck, a 90/10 mix and my preferred ground blend for my chili recipe. As fat generally provides more flavor, we are going to be sure that we pump this beef back up, swapping out the richness from the fat with a beautiful and healthy mix of aromatics and veggies. To start, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prep the following: one cup diced onion, three quarter’s cup diced carrot and one and one half tbs minced garlic.
Set a large pan with tall edges over a medium flame. Add one tbs of olive oil and warm for a minute before adding the carrots and the onions. Saute until the onions begin to turn translucent, three to five minutes. Next, add the ground sirloin and garlic to the pan along with one half tsp kosher salt and one quarter tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and drain off any excess fat.
Next, add one half tsp ground cumin, one quarter tsp red pepper flakes, one half cup red wine, three quarters of a cup unsalted beef broth, one bay leaf and one tbs tomato paste. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the sauce has reduced and the meat has thickened, about fifteen minutes. While the beef is reducing cook your mashed potatoes. Now, many people have a preferred method for cooking their mashed potatoes and, other than the fact that you want smooth potatoes here, you really can’t go wrong. Personally, I peel and chop my potatoes (one and one half pounds) and place them in a pot. I cover them with water and add a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. I put the lid on the pot and bring to a boil, allowing to cook until fork tender, approximately twelve to fifteen minutes.
While the potatoes finish cooking, let’s add some freshness to our ‘pie’ filling! First though, remove the bay leaf from the meat mixture and discard.
Clean, stem and chop one and one half cups fresh kale (swiss chard or spinach may be used here as well) and mince two tbs fresh parsley. Add the kale to the beef along with three quarters of a cup of frozen peas. Squeeze the juice of one half of a lemon over the kale and add one half tsp kosher salt. Finally, add one tbs of the fresh parsley to the mix, reserving the rest for garnish.
Toss over low heat, allowing the greens to wilt and for the peas to warm through for three to five minutes. Taste for seasoning. Transfer the mix to a casserole dish (two quarts/9″x9″ worked great for me) and set aside.
Once the potatoes are cooked through drain them and place them back in the pot. Add one half cup cream, one half cup whole milk, two tbs butter, one quarter tsp kosher salt and one quarter tsp freshly ground black pepper. Mash until smooth and creamy and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if preferred. Layer the potatoes over the meat filling and spread to the edges of the dish, creating an even layer. You will likely have some mashed potatoes left over but better to have too much than too little, wouldn’t you say? Create hash marks along the top, giving it a little character.
Bake at 425 degrees for thirty to thirty-five minutes until the tops of the potatoes begin to brown. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining tbs of fresh parsley. Allow to sit for three minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Serves Four to Six
one cup diced onion
- three quarter’s cup diced carrot
- one and one half tbs minced garlic
- one tbs olive oil
- one pound Foxhollow Farm ground sirloin
- one tsp kosher salt, divided
- one quarter tsp freshly ground black pepper
- one half tsp ground cumin
- one quarter tsp red pepper flakes
- one half cup red wine
- three quarters of a cup unsalted beef broth
- one bay leaf
- one tbs tomato paste
- one and one half cups kale, stemmed and chopped
- two tbs minced fresh parsley
- three quarters cup frozen peas
- the juice from one half of a lemon
- one and one half pounds potatoes, cleaned, peeled and chopped
- kosher salt
- one half cup cream
- one half cup whole milk
- two tbs unsalted butter
- freshly ground black pepper