Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eggplant Shepherd's Pie

This is a recipe I got from the March 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. The original recipe calls 2 pounds of lamb. I used one pound of really good quality ground sirloin I got from my butcher, and one pound of ground turkey. I also added a few other ingredients to make this recipe my own.

Ingredients for the filling:
-1 medium eggplant, cut into cubes
-kosher salt
-4 tbsp, or more if needed, extra virgin olive oil; divided
-1 lb ground sirloin
-1 lb ground turkey
-1/2 large white onion, chopped
-1 14 ounce can of tomatoes
-1.5 cups of broth, whatever you have on hand
-2 tbsp flour
-1/2 cup of white wine
-4 large garlic cloves, chopped
-1/2 tbsp of oregano
-1 tsp cayenne
-4 large mushrooms, chopped

Ingredients for the potato topping:
-12 red potatoes chopped in 4, NOT peeled
-1/4 stick of butter
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 cup of milk
-1 cup shredded cheese

Now onto the fun.

Lay the eggplant cubes on a baking sheet, use one with a raised edge. Like so.

Sprinkle with kosher salt, don't be shy now.

Let that stand all nice and pretty, for about an hour. Tossing every now and then.

At that point you will rinse the eggplant, and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat up 3 tbsp of oil in a heavy large pot over med-high heat. Add the eggplant and saute until it is tender, about 12-15 minutes. Toss the cooked eggplant into a medium sized bowl.

In the same pot, lightly brown the ground meat, and set aside. This meat will continue to cook in a sauce so do not brown it too much in this step.

In same pot, add in 2 tbsp of butter, the onions, 2 tbsp of flour, and stir to coat. Continue to stir until the mixture has thickened, and the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, and boil until most of the wine has evaporated. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, that's where a lot of flavor will be.

After the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes with juice, broth (I used some homemade chicken stock I had on hand), garlic, oregano, cayenne, and mushrooms.

Add the meat with it's accumulated juices. Simmer until thickened to your liking, then keep over very low heat while you cook the potatoes.

At this point I set my oven to preheat to 375 degrees.

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes or so.

Melt the butter & oil in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, not more than a minute or so. Add milk and simmer.

Drain the potatoes, and return them to their pot. Leave the heat under this pot on medium, and stir the potatoes until the cooking water has almost completely evaporated. Enough to where you can see that it has cooked off, but not long enough to let the potatoes start to stick to the pan.

Add the milk mixture, and mash until the potatoes are smooth.

Here is what my filling looks like before I put it in the baking dish, I just used a large, square, Pyrex baking dish. You can use whatever dish you like, even a 13x9x2 would work.

Pour the meat filling into the baking dish, then cover it with the potatoes.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. I used a blend of cheddar and Monterrey jack.

Place in oven and bake, until the filling is heated through, and the topping has turned a golden color.
Juices from the filling may seep up onto the top of the casserole. It doesn't make it look pretty but the flavor is amazing.
I served it with a salad and enjoyed every bite!
In hindsight, next time I will add something green, and some carrots.

This is a very versatile dish, the possibilities are endless.

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