…braise with red wine…and often.
I’ve made shepherd’s pie plenty of times before. Except they’ve never, ever passed the test. Em is a Shepherd’s pie fanatic and no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to master the key criteria. No matter my meat, my veg, or my potatoes, things have never come together as a cohesive comfort classic. That is until a few weeks ago, where the perfume of beef braising in red wine took over the area of my brain storing short-term food memories…and has not left.
Our friend Kelly, who has now made a few posts (maybe she should write the blog) cooked us up some of her ridiculous meat sauce and I haven’t stopped thinking about red wine since. She uses some absurd amount of the stuff to cook down the beef creating amazing flavor and richness. It’s a technique I have not used much in the past, but as referenced by the title of this post, that’s all about to change.
Fast forward to the Third Nobler Gathering where the Noblers were getting down on some Middleton Irish Whiskey. Shepherd’s pie only seemed fitting and with my red wine braise resolution in tow, the thing came out absurdly good! My version ended up being a bit more complicated than I had made it in the past, but obviously it was worth it.
I cooked up the carrots, peas, and mushrooms separately from the braise to keep their texture and flavor only to combine them with a little dijon and sour cream just before topping it all with some blue cheese studded mashed potatoes. The blue cheese is a perfect addition acting as a background flavor to make this shepherd’s pie one of the best savory bites I’ve ever made.
It passed the Nobler’s test, just one more to go! Happy New Year everyone!