Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

Seriously delicious and very comforting!

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St. Partick’s day is just over a week away. On Wednesday I shared my St. Patty’s party fav’s and now I’m sharing the perfect meal to serve at your party! It also has Guinness in it which adds a nice festive twist! Not only is this recipe great if your hosting people for St. Patrick’s day, but it’s also amazing for dinner year round. It’s delicious, filling and comforting.

When I was a kid my mom used to make shepherd’s pie out of leftover roast beef. It’s so good that way but today I’m using ground beef since it’s easy and readily available. Did you know that technically when you use beef you’re making cottage pie. Seriously lamb is traditionally used in shepherd’s pie. It gets it’s name from the shepherd’s who tend to the sheep. But since I know it as shepherd’s pie that’s what we’re going with.

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The first time I made Shepherd’s pie it was a failure. It was dry and tasteless. Since then I’ve discovered a few very important secrets to making a delicious Shepherd’s pie. First things first you need to make a thick flavourful gravy. Nothing is worse than dry filling. Cook down onions, garlic and carrots to create a flavourful base. brown off your ground beef add flour to thicken and then deglaze with Guinness. Seriously this creates an insane amount of deep flavour. Then add beef broth to create a thick luscious gravy.

The other tip I have is to make a super flavourful spreadable mashed potato. You need pretty loose mashed potatoes. You want them to still be soft and smooth when you eat them. Since they have to go in the oven if you dont add enough butter and milk they will really dry out. Also adding parmesan or another cheese can’t hurt either!

This recipe is seriously delicious and a must make for St. Patrick’s day, or any day!

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Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1.5 lbs Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 cup Guinness
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 1 Beef Bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn

Mashed Potato

  • 2 lbs Russet Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup Milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted

Topping

  • 3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp Butter, melted

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat warm oil. Add onion, cook for 1 minute. Add carrots, cook for 1 minute until starting to soften and brightening in colour. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes until vegetables are soft.

Turn heat up to medium high and add ground beef. Break into small pieces and cook until browned.

Add flour, stir and cook for one minute to remove the raw four taste. Add tomato paste, bouillon cube, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and rosemary. Mix seasoning into meat until well distributed. Deglaze the pan with Guinness. Scrape brown its off the bottom of the pan until the beer cooks don and the pan becomes mostly dry again.

Add beef broth to the pan. Continue to scrape the pan to release the brown bits. Bring the mixture to a simmer, turn down the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, string occasionally. A thick gravy will develop. Taste gravy, add additional salt and pepper if desired. Stir in peas and corn. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes to defrost the vegetables.

Cool the mixture and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.

Drain potatoes. Leave in the colander to dry for 5-10 minutes. In the mean time melt the butter in the microwave and measure out the milk. Return the potatoes to the pot. Using a potato masher or a hand mixer mash the plain potatoes. Add half the butter and milk to the potatoes, mash together. Check the consistency. The potatoes should be looser then regular mashed potatoes. They should be spreadable but not runny. Continue to add milk and butter until the mashed potatoes reach the desired consistency.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour filling into a 9×11 inch baking pan, spread evenly. Spread mashed potatoes out evenly to cover the filling. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the potatoes evenly. Spoon melted butter evenly over potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes to make serving easier. Serve with peas or a side salad.

Adapted from RecipeTin Eats.

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Mulled Wine

Today I have a super quick post today for the perfect warming cocktail. This is the perfect beverage for cold weather. You can serve it at a party, it’s a great post skiing warm up. Or even take it with you on a snowy walk (always remember to be responsible!). I read somewhere that of you want to party like it 1877 make some mulled wine. Clearly someone in North America wrote that since mulled wine is still very popular in parts of Europe. They sell mulled wine at most of the Christmas markets and festivals near me and I love it. It makes things so festive!

This mulled wine has brandy, orange rind, a few fresh cranberries, cloves, cinnamon and star anise. It’s so warming and have so many traditional Christmas flavours. I will be whipping up another batch this weekend to have while we watch Christmas movies and wrap presents.

So since I said I would keep this quick I should probably get into the recipe!

Mulled Wine

Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of Red Wine
  • 1/4 cup Brandy
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • 1 Whole Star Anise
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • Peel of Half an Orange
  • 1/4 cup Cranberries, fresh

In a medium sized pot over medium heat add 1/2 cup of wine and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar fully dissolves. Add the remaining wine, brandy, spices, orange peel and cranberries to the pot. Reduce heat to low. Continue to heat the wine for 20 minutes. Garnish with additional spices or orange slices. Serve in mugs, or heat proof glasses

Adapted from The Kitchn

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Garlic and Thyme Roast Potatoes

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Ok so I know these aren’t the prettiest pictures, but this is an amazing recipe so I had to share it anyway. This recipe is for a classic English roast potato, kicked up a notch with garlic and thyme. They were so tasty!

This is a riff on my Mom’s roast potatoes. She always makes them with roast beef dinner and they are amazing! She even get chunks of beef fat from the butcher to roast her potatoes in… just like her mom did. Personally that’s a bit much or me. Plus I like to try to make as many side as I can vegetarian, so everyone can enjoy.

I like to use half butter and half olive oil to roast my potatoes. This way you get delicious flavour from the butter, but a slightly higher smoke point for the oil. This will help stop things from burning. And both make for a crispy potato! Yum!

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This recipe calls for russet potatoes.. I have not experimented with any other type of potato. This is what my mom and Grandma used, so why mess with a good thing?

The most important part about working with potatoes is to let them steam in the colander after cooking,  this is the only way you will get crispy potatoes.

The second rule of this recipe is patience. These potatoes roast for an hour and a half! Yes they do! It takes a long time to get the texture of a signature roast potato! Believe me when I say it is so worth the wait. Patience is a virtue right…. And believe me it will all be worth it!

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Garlic and Thyme Roast Potatoes

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 5 Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch Thyme
  • 6 Garlic Gloves
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large pot of salted water, boil potatoes for 8 minutes. Strain potatoes and set aside to steam for 5 minutes.

In a large baking dish or roasting pan add butter and oil (2 tbsp each). Place in your preheated oven for a few minutes until butter is melted (2-5 mins). Remove pan from the oven and add potatoes. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and toss to coat in fat. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl place garlic cloves. Tear thyme bunch in half or thirds and add to bowl. Drizzle with oil (about a tbsp). Toss to coat. Remove potatoes from the oven and sprinkle garlic and thyme over the pan. Give the pan a good shake to evenly distribute and return to the oven. Bake for an additional hour.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately…. hopefully with lots of gravy!

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

 


Baked Brie Braid – 2 Ways!

It’s officially the holiday season, so you know what that means. Lots of holiday entertaining! Today I’ll be sharing a super quick and easy appetizer idea for your next party.

Baked Brie Braids are the perfect way to impress your guests without a lot of effort. It looks fancier then your standard cheese wheel, but it really doesn’t take much effort. I’ll admit it’s barely a recipe.

The two flavours of Bakes Brie Braids I’m sharing today are a classic fig jam and a savoury sun-dried tomato pesto. This couldn’t be easier since all you have to do is assemble and bake… like I said barely a recipe.

Even though it’s crazy easy it’s also crazy delicious and is a really show stopper at any party! Put it alongside some roasted cashews and you’re ready for cocktails!

Baked Brie Braid – 2 Ways

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sheets Puff Pastry
  • 6-8 Slices of Brie Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Fig Jam
  • 2 Tablespoons Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Optional: Pine Nuts or Walnuts for garnish 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Gently mark your puff pasty with a knife to section off the pastry into thirds vertically. Do not cut through the pastry.

Spread fig jam down the center of the puff pastry. Top with 3-4 slices of brie. Using a small knife cut the outer sections of the puff pastry into 1 inch strips. Fold the strips into the centre to cover the cheese and jam, alternating sides to form a braid. Brush the braid with egg wash.

Repeat the steps with the sun-dried tomato pesto.

Place the two braids on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and top with nuts if desired. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Entertaining With Beth.

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

I love all carbs, but noodles are my favourite! I always get cravings for Baked Macaroni and Cheese in the fall and winter. It’s just so comforting. I know the box stuff is convenient but it’s not the same. I have also tried all of those trick for making a single serving in the microwave and I’m sorry but that just wont cut it! Homemade with a roux and cream sauce os the only way!

I have been making homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese since I was a teenager. In high school I used to make it every Monday night for my brother and I to have for dinner before heading off to dance and soccer. I used a recipe out of one of my mom’s well used cookbooks and would top the whole thing with ritz crackers instead of breadcrumbs. It was good, but even back then I knew it wasn’t perfect.

It was dry, there wasn’t enough cheesy flavour and the noodles were way too soft. For years I didn’t make Baked Macaroni Cheese. There is a store by my house that sells a decent Baked Macaroni and Cheese, so when I need my fix my husband runs out and grabs some (he knows to keep me well fed!). Since it’s just the two of us it seemed like over kill to make a whole pan. But one morning I was watching cooking videos on Youtube and got inspired to perfect my Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

This recipe it perfect. It solved all the issues I had in the past and I really learned a lot about making Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

  1. Undercook your pasta. Always undercook your pasta when making a Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Then you won’t end up with bloated macaroni
  2. Use the strongest and highest quality cheese you can afford. You want to get the most flavour out of your cheese as possible. Find the best old cheddar cheeses you can find, you wont be disappointed.
  3. Make way more sauce then you think you need. The sauce to noodle ratio should alarm you, you should be terrified that your making soup instead of macaroni and cheese. All kidding aside you need a lot of sauce!

If you can remember those three things your Baked Macaroni and cheese will turn out perfect. I hope that this recipe makes it to your table this fall.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

8 Ounces Elbow Macaroni

  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Cups Whole Milk 
  • 8 Ounces Aged Old White Cheddar (crumbled or grated)
  • 4 Ounces Sharp Orange Cheddar Cheese (crumbled or grated)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt 
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

  • 1 Cup Plain Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, melted

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to package directions, but reduce the cook time by 2 minutes. You need very al dente pasta for this recipe. Drain pasta and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease an 8 inch baking dish with butter or oil.

In a large sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk milk into the roux. Whisk constantly to combine the mixture and prevent milk from burning. Continue to cook the mixture until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Whisk sauce occasionally.

Once the sauce has thickened reduce the heat to low. Add the cheese to the sauce, stir to combine. Season the sauce with salt, chili and garlic powder.

Fold cooked macaroni to the sauce to coat. Transfer the mixture to your prepared baking dish. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix together breadcrumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling.

Adapted from Seasons and Suppers

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