Friday, February 04, 2011

Shepherd's Pie and Meat Pie

Our family rarely cooks with ground beef. When we do, two things come to mind: Shepherd’s pie and meat pie. A few weeks ago, we made Shepherd’s pie after picking up some ground beef that was on sale. I couldn’t recall how Mom made it. She had not made it in a while, so I just winged it.

Shepherd's Pie 1

I started simmering the ground beef with a bunch of herbs. I just tossed in some bay leaves, herbs Provence, sage, marjoram, and oregano. Instead of browning the ground beef, I simmered the beef on low heat in some beef stock, ketchup (couldn’t find any tomato paste), and water. I find that by cooking the ground meat in liquids, the end product will become tender.

I knew there were onions in the meat, but I didn’t know if they should’ve been softened or sautéed.  I ended up caramelizing the onions in butter (and a bit of vegetable oil), bay leaves, sage, marjoram and oregano. The smell that came off of the caramelized onions reminded me of French onion soup. Yum-eh! 

After the meat simmered for a few hours, the mixture was still too watery. I was thinking about adding a slurry of flour and water to tighten things up, but Mom came to the rescue and suggested we add some stale bread. I was hesitant and unsure, but Mom assured me that that’s what she used to do. The bread soaked up all the liquids and thickened the meat filling like a charm.

Shepherd's Pie 2
Richard made some fluffy mashed potatoes and boiled the corn. Lucy put everything together. She was generous with the mashed potatoes and a bit stingy on the meat filling. We sprinkled a bit of paprika on the top and then browned the top under the broiler.

Shepherd's Pie3
This was such an amazing dinner. The ketchup unnecessary, but since we ate it with ketchup when we were younger, it didn’t seem right to eat Shepherd’s pie without it. With each bite, memories of our childhood came flooding back.

With so many large mouths to feed, there were barely any leftovers left to enjoy the next day. The Shepherd’s pie felt like an aromatic hammer, but it hurt so good!

Schneiders meat pies were on sale the other day and, since I was curious, I bought a box of them to try.

I opened up the box and guess what I saw?

Smiling Meat Pie
The meat pie was smiling at me - no joke! The more I stared at it, the creepier the smile became. *Shudder*

Meat Pie
I got the last laugh though. Nom nom nom! The flaky piecrust was pretty good, but the filling wasn’t that great. Andrew and I snacked on these before going skating on the Rideau Canal.

Rideau Canal at
If you get a chance, skate on the Rideau Canal and enjoy the Winterlude festivities.



  1. Haven't been on this blog in a while and pleasantly surprised to see you are back in Ottawa! Welcome back, and Happy New Year!

  2. Hi nooschi, thanks for dropping by! Lucy and I are both back in Ottawa, so please look forward to more Ottawa eats. Happy new year to you, as well!

  3. New to this blog! It is inspiring me to add more Chinese/Asian food to ours :)

    And of course more savoury pies: cottage, shepherd's, and pot

  4. The smoothness of mashed potato, and the meaty goodness of ground beef joined together to form the stomach-filling shepherd's pie. One of the factors that made it delicious is the presence of various herbs that not only brings the spicy goodness, but also an aroma that can take your hunger away!


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