Monday, April 7, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Southwestern Shepherd's Pie

It's the first Monday of the month, which means it's Reveal Day for Group A of the Secret Recipe Club.  I was so excited to get my email this month even before I knew which blog I was being sent to stalk.  I was even more excited when I started reading.
This month, I was sent to explore Crumb.  Isabelle is a fellow Ontarian, and lives in east Toronto, but we won't hold that against her.  Despite the years that I spent living in East York, I'm still not sure that you should live east of the Don Valley.  I was still within earshot of the DVP.  Like here on the mountain, she also lives with a boy, and not one but two cats.  We also both have blue kitchens.  Obviously, on some level we're soulmates.
It was fun to spend time poking around Isabelle's blog.  There were so many things that I wanted to try - Mocha Brioche, Lemon-Cherry Hot Cross Buns, and Spicy Peanut Noodles, Southwestern Shepherd's Pie, and more.  I decided at that point that I wouldn't be making a single recipe, but a few.  In fact, this post kicks off two posts from Crumb this week around these parts.  Make sure to come back Wednesday to see what else we tried!
J is a huge fan of Shepherd's Pie.  Frankly, with a spring that never seems to be coming, this is a perfect meal for people who are dreaming of sunnier, warmer weather and searching for comfort as the snow slowly recedes, giving way to mud, brown lawns and the detritus of snowbanks.  So good.
I present to you now Crumb's Southwestern Shepherd's Pie:

2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 c fresh tomatoes,diced
1 c frozen corn, thawed
4 large potatoes, quartered
1/2 c milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded

1.  In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat and sautee peppers and onion until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and spices and cook until spices are fragrant.
2.  Add ground beef to the pan and break up with a spoon while browning, until there is no longer any pink remaining.  Stir in tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juices have reduced into a thick sauce.  Remove from heat and stir in corn.
3.  While the meat mixture cooks, cover potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil for 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Drain and mash with milk and butter.
4.  Spread the meat mixture evenly in a casserole dish.  Top with potatoes, smoothing the top to the edges.  Bake at 400F for 15 minutes before topping with the shredded cheese and baking for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and browning and the filling is bubbly. 
 Adapted from Crumb

The filling smelled so good.  I think next time I would add a second jalapeno...and more salt.  I use a very light hand with the salt because of blood pressure around here.  This could have used a little more.
I should have made the potatoes a little thinner.  Or put them on in a thinner layer to start.  I found they were difficult to spread, and kept sinking into the filling.  But it's hard to complain.  Mashed potatoes are one of my favourite things.
The filling bubbled up around the edges, so it's not as pretty as it could be.  But no matter.
We both loved it.  Both nights we ate it.  Much like we loved what else I served up from Crumb.  Thanks Isabelle!

If you follow the hop, you can see what the rest of Group A made this month, including what someone else made from this blog for dinner!


  1. That looks really yummy. I've tried something similar that used mashed sweet potatoes as the topping. Either way has to be good!

  2. Love this pick! We are clearly soulmates, because you made one of my favourite recipes. I've been craving this dish for the past week. No word of a lie. Also, the filling bubbling up around the edges means it's saucy and delicious, even if it's not so purty.
    PS: Life ain't so bad within a stone's throw of the DVP. East York 4 Lyfe! (I don't know any of the east side gang signs, so I'll just flash my reusable bag from the Big Carrot instead. Werd.) :)

  3. That sounds delicious! I love shepherd's pie. Anna's idea for sweet potatoes as a topping is good, too. Had fun poking around your blog this month!

  4. Comfort food at its best! Sounds delish.

  5. I do something very similar to this and it's amazing - think I need to make a batch next week!

  6. How good is Shepherd's pie - comfort food at its best!