After several weeks of more strange and exotic recipes (someone on the dutch oven cooking yahoogroup said, “Mark’ll try anything!” – which I took as a compliment), I did decide to do something more traditionally dutch oven. I was going through my new cookbooks and found a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. I looked it over, and was intrigued, so I tried it, and made it my own, of course, with a few mods.
This recipe is in a couple of steps. It’s not difficult, but there are a lot of things to do to get it done.
Dutch Oven Shepherd’s Pie
2x 12” dutch ovens, charcoals vary with the step
- 8-10 small to medium potatoes
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 tbsp butter
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 ½ to 2 lbs ground beef (could substitute lamb, if you can find it)
- 1 cup beef broth
- ¼ cup flour
- Two large carrots
- One large onion
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- liberal shakes of Worcestershire sauce
- Liberal shakes of parsley, rosemary, oregano
- Liberal shakes of salt and black pepper
I started with a lot of coals, maybe 20 or so, underneath each of two 12” dutch ovens. In one were the potatoes, peeled and cubed. In the other was the ground beef, browning. Actually, I ended up putting more coals on top of the potatoes as well. You want to get it good and boiling.
Once those both were done, I brought them both inside (it was cold out) and I drained the potatoes. I added the milk, the butter and the salt and pepper, and mashed them all up with a whisk.
Then I put them in the fridge with the meat, cleaned up the ovens, and went to church.
After church, I came back and put the meat in one of the 12” dutch ovens, and added everything else in the third ingredient set. The original recipe instructions called for sautéing the onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrots first, then adding the meat and broth, but by this time, I’d already taken a lot of steps to cook this and I wanted to simplify. So, I just dumped it all in and mixed it up.
Then, I spread the potatoes on top. I had actually not used this many potatoes, and in a 12” dutch oven, I couldn’t completely cover the meat, so that’s why the recipe above has more. The book suggested dragging a fork through the potatoes to make a pattern, and I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I did it.
Then, I put it on the coals to make about 350 degrees. Normally that’s about 8-9 below, and 16-18 above. I ended up with about 12 below and about 22 above because it’s winter. I left that on for about 40 minutes. Also, in an attempt to brown the top of the potatoes, after that I put all the coals on top and let it cook for about another 20 minutes more. It didn’t really brown up much. But then, it’s a wet dish in a dutch oven, so it’s not so likely to brown anyway.
But it did taste delicious! I loved the herbal flavor. Then, to make it a truly international feast, a mexican friend of mine heated up some corn tortillas. That was just the thing!