Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keeping Warm In The Snow

The snow came early this year and it's been an unusually cold November. What better way to stay warm than to curl up with a nice blanket and a plate of scrumptious shepherd's pie.

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
black pepper to taste
3/4 cup chicken stock (only required if using ground beef)
1 can corn

4 to 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • For extra light and fluffy mashed potatoes, rinse the potatoes under cold water then steam the potatoes in a colander over boiling water or in a steaming basket for 10 minutes. Then rinse the potatoes under cold water again until the potatoes are cold. Return them to steam for another 10 minutes or until fork-tender. (Rinsing the potatoes after they have cooked for a few minutes removes the starch that makes mashed potatoes so dense and heavy).
  • If short on time or if you want to save yourself a bit of effort, place the potatoes into a deep microwave-safe dish and add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Use the microwave button for potatoes or microwave for about 5 to 8 minutes or until fork-tender.
  • Once potatoes are cooked, drain out any remaining water and mash the potatoes and butter together until smooth. Then add the milk, sour cream, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper stirring until well-mixed.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet on medium heat and brown the ground beef or turkey with the onions. Sprinkle the garlic powder and thyme over the meat while it cooks.
  • Once the meat has cooked, if using ground beef, drain the liquid, then stir in chicken stock and corn. If using ground turkey, just stir in the corn.
  • To assemble, pour the meat mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, then sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. (We like it cheesy, so we slice up the cheese and put it right on top so it forms a crusty cheesy layer.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cheese browns a bit and the mixture is bubbly.