Shepherd’s Pie, Potatoes Duchesse, Pinot Noir, the Metric System, and -15 Degree Weather


Burrrr!!!! It’s cold today and I want need something warm and comforting to nosh on. After shoveling snow for three days and cabin fever beginning to set in, Shepherd’s pie is just the dish to satisfy and provide stimulation from the nothing that is going on.

Shepherd's Pie with Potatoes Duchesse and Pinot Noir

Shepherd’s Pie with Potatoes Duchesse and Pinot Noir

Where do I start? Looking at different recipes, deciphering whether I want to use wine or beer, and also whether I want to drink beer or wine. I land on a couple of recipes that I like, and find that they are in the metric system. A little extra work to convert but, worth the effort. Glad my pyrex measuring cup already comes with mL’s.

Potatoes Duchesse

  • 2 lbs of boiled potatoes
  • 5 oz milk
  • 2 oz butter
  • salt and fresh ground white pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (this will be once pie is assembled, before going in oven)

For this, I brought out the potato ricer. In order to achieve light and fluffy potatoes, this contraption is ideal. Plus it’s fun to use. Not fun to clean later though…Boil your peeled and cubed potatoes for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure the water is salted.

potato ricer

Potato Ricer

Be sure to drain the potatoes fully before ricing into the pot. I transferred the potatoes to a bowl, and passed them through the ricer in the same pot they cooked in.

potato duchesse filling

Potato Duchesse filling

In a separate small pot, warm the milk and butter and pour in the potato mixer. Lightly mix everything together and set aside.

Shepherd’s Pie Filling

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions grated
  • 4 garlic cloves grated
  • 3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2lbs ground beef (or lamb)
  • 4 oz of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir as pictured)
  • Large dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp thyme chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

So when I see 2-3 things in a recipe that say they need to be grated. I get the food processor out. I don’t need to be grating all that with a regular boxed grater. I still have nightmares from scraping my hand a long time ago…so food processor it is. Plus it looks pretty. See!

carrot shred

Bright carrot shred

In a large skillet, sauté the beef until cooked through. Remove and drain all fat, except about 2 tsp. Add a knob of butter. When melted, add carrot, onion, mushroom, and garlic and sauté until translucent.

veg sautee

Veg sauté

Once the carrot, onion, mushroom and garlic are translucent. Add the cooked meat, tomato paste, and sprinkle flour in and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. Taste for seasoning. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

meat filling

Shepherd’s Pie filling

Time to assemble….Take your pie dish and pour in filling until 2/3 of the way up the sides. You will need a pastry bag or zip lock bag (what I used). Cut a tiny corner on the bottom of the bag and put your piping tip inside. Scoop your potatoes in the bag and make tiny swirls of potatoes all around the top of the dish until covered. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.

Pie before oven

Pie before oven

Bake in Oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. Until potatoes start to brown and filling bubbles on the sides. For Extra touch sprinkle chopped chives on top.

finished pie with wine label

Finished Shepherd’s Pie

What went perfect with both making and pairing with this dish was this delicious Mac Murray Pinot Noir. It’s a nice medium bodied wine to hold up against this hearty but not too heavy meal. They balanced each other in flavor and weight.

Pinot Noir- Mac Murray

Mac Murray Pinot Noir, 2010

Plus it was just YUM all around. Would make this again the next time temperatures are sub zero…

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